TRUMP PROPOSES TO DEFUND THE INSTITUTE OF MUSEUM AND LIBRARY SERVICES
According to IMLS, the proposed FY 2018 budget includes elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This decision impacts libraries across the nation. You can read more about the impact of this on libraries through the information and links below.
What Does the IMLS Do for Libraries?
IMLS’s support “enables museums and libraries to offer learning experiences for students and families, as well as to increase care for, andaccess to, the nation’s collections that are entrusted to museums and libraries by the public.” Furthermore, IMLS “is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries.” Their grants, such as the $155 million population-based ones, can impact library services for every state and territory in the country (Source: IMLS article). An example of an important grant is the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), which is funded through IMLS. This is “the primary annual source of funding for libraries in the federal budget.”
As the American Library Association (ALA) President says, “America’s more than 120,000 public, school, college and university and many other libraries are not piles of archived books. They’re trusted centers for education, employment, entrepreneurship and free inquiry at the core of communities in every state in the country – and in every Congressional district. And they’re staffed by the original search engines: skilled and engaged librarians” (Source: ALA article).
What Has Been Done?
ALA has a Fight for Libraries web page. According to the site, not only is future funding affected, but the current year’s funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) programs. Through the ALA Legislative Action Center, library supporters have insisted that their Representative in the House take action. “One-third of the entire House of Representatives signed each of those Dear Appropriator letters and nearly 170 Members signed at least one” (Source: Fight for Libraries article).
What Can You Do?
Next comes the Senate. According to Fight for Libraries, the Senators must add their names to the LSTA and IAL letters by May 19. They are asking concerned individuals to “use ALA’s Legislative Action Center today to call, email or tweet (maybe all three?) both of your Senators and ask them to support federal funding for libraries by signing both the “Reed/Collins LSTA” and “Reed/Grassley/Stabenow IAL” Dear Appropriator letters. Many Senators will only sign if their constituents ask them to, so your action is crucial. Let them know why libraries are important to your community and ask them to show their support now.”
The two for Missourians to contact are
- Roy Blunt (R) at (202) 224-5721 or by Twitter through @RoyBlunt
- Claire McCaskill (D) at (202) 224-6154 or by Twitter through @clairecmc
At the time of this update, neither have signed. (You can check if they have by going to this site.)
The Fight for Libraries lists other actions you can take.
- President’s budget proposal to eliminate federal library funding ‘counterproductive and short-sighted’ (ALA)
- Institute of Museum and Library Services Issues Statement on the President’s Proposed FY 18 Budget (IMLS)
- Save the IMLS: an Integral Supporter of Libraries (TechSoup)
- Fight for Libraries Website (ALA)
- President’s Budget Proposal to Eliminate Federal Library Funding (District Dispatch)
- #SaveIMLS (Twitter)
- Appropriations Season is Underway (District Dispatch)
- The Fight For Library Funding Is On in the US Senate (District Dispatch)