ALA Says: Tell Congress FY2019 Budget Proposal Miscalculates the Value of Libraries
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
On Monday, February 12, 2018, our colleagues at the American Library Association forwarded the following letter to their list of contacts.
Today, the White House released its budget proposal for FY 2019. As we anticipated, the proposal includes a significant cut to federal library funding and eliminates the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which provides approximately $183 million in direct funding to libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The budget proposal also eliminates the $27 million Innovative Approaches to Literacy program administered by the Department of Education.
Withholding federal support for libraries means withholding services that foster achievement, develop the workforce and contribute to local economies. ALA members will continue to highlight the value of libraries to our elected leaders in every U.S. congressional district. And we are confident that our congressional leaders will continue to protect the federal programs that invest in our communities.
These proposed cuts would impact many libraries across the country. While public and school libraries would see the largest effects, academic libraries with state-funded databases or those that apply for IMLS grants are also implicated. Since each state is required to match one-third of their federal LSTA grants, any cut to LSTA in the FY2019 budget is likely to lead to a cut on the state level. In addition, the cuts to IAL specifically target school library funding, which will make it harder for vulnerable schools to acquire the books, resources, and training needed to provide high-quality literacy programs for their students.
Congress will have the final say on budget allocations for these programs in the FY2019 budget. Now is the time to let them know how important federal library funding is to their constituents. Use the ALA Action Center to send your Senators and Representative an email and ask for their public support of library funding throughout the FY2019 appropriations cycle.
Visit District Dispatch for up-to-date news from the ALA Washington Office and find resources on our website.