The President’s budget proposal for FY2018, if passed, would defund the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as well as Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). WE CANNOT ALLOW such an ill-advised and destructive elimination of library services to occur!!
Over the past twenty years, the IMLS has provided library services to all 50 states and every US territory. It serves as the administrative unit authorized by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the only federal legislation exclusive to libraries and museums, and provides funding to 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums! As IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew states, IMLS funding “provides vital resources that contribute significantly to Americans’ economic development, education, health, and well-being, whether by facilitating family learning and catalyzing community change or stimulating economic development through job training and skills development.” For example, in Tennessee, an IMLS grant to the State Library allows all Tennessee citizens to access the Tennessee Electronic Library, a virtual library that can be accessed from a home pc, a school library computer lab, a public library, or an iPhone – anywhere with an internet connection. TEL provides resources from 70 databases, constituting economic viability for six vendors, and covers a variety of subjects: humanities, education, business science, current events, art, politics, economics, social sciences, law, health, computers, environmental issues and general interest topics. This statewide access helps individual and branch libraries, many in rural areas that cannot afford expensive databases on their own, provide core reference materials, journals, and newspapers to their patrons. See TEL.
Also, the IAL is a federal program under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education which awards grants to “innovative programs that promote early literacy for young children, motivate older children to read, and increase student achievement by using school libraries as partners to improve literacy, distributing free books to children and their families, and offering high-quality literacy activities.” The IAL strives to especially support school libraries across the country which cannot, due to inadequate local funding, provide high-quality literacy programming, the services of a professional school librarian, and/or safe, appropriate facilities. In 2016, grants were awarded nationwide, from the Northwest Artic Borough School District in Alaska to the Grayson County, Virginia Board of Education!
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE BY CONTACTING YOUR SENATOR TODAY!! Appropriator letters are currently before the U.S. Senate! You can ask your Senators to sign such letters in support of $186.6 million in federal funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), FY 2018.
The American Library Association (ALA) makes this necessary civic action easy! Visit the ALA Action Center website, found HERE, and, as easy as one, two, three, call, e-mail, or tweet your Senators, urging each to sign the Appropriation Letters. Your local school and public libraries, as well as museums, will be saved easily if you participate!!
Want to help even more? Here’s how!!
The NCBLA hopes to join YOU, online or in Washington, D.C., May 1st-5th, as we work together to save and support the finest example of democracy in action, our Nation’s libraries and museums!!