While we are not a political group in any way shape or form, the current federal budget as proposed eliminates the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which is a huge source of income for our nation’s libraries – $5.4 million in funding for PA libraries alone. Eliminating this funding will cripple not just our library, but libraries everywhere. So, if you have a moment, please read over the following information and call or email your representatives to tell them to oppose this unprecedented budget cut and help save our libraries! Please forward this when you’ve done your part – post it to Facebook, tweet it out and let everyone you know know that our libraries need our help!
FIND YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS:
The White House released the proposed budget that calls for eliminating the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS), the only federal agency charged with providing support to the nation’s hundreds of thousands of libraries and museums.
Don’t know much about IMLS? Here’s a quick overview: through IMLS, every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories receive funding to support their state’s libraries and museums. In FY14 the total funding IMLS distributed to states and territories was $154,800,000.
In addition, IMLS offers competitive grant opportunities that individual libraries and museums can apply for. In FY14 they awarded 594 grants (from 1,299 applications) totaling more than $54,700,000.
For Pennsylvania this represents $5.4 million. Those funds are used for a variety of programs and services including:
- POWER Library (online resources available to schools and public libraries)
- Summer Reading
- One Book Every Young Child
- SPARK (the Statewide Integrated Library System that serves more than 80 libraries across the Commonwealth)
- Continuing education programs for library staff and trustees
- Competitive grants for local projects
Funds also support the State Library and staffing at the Bureau of Library Development. Elimination of IMLS would severely compromise library service statewide and nationally.
Over the past three years ACLA and its Member Libraries (including Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh) have received funding through IMLS / LSTA for:
- Using Digital Storytelling to Connect Diverse Communities $21,167
- Wi-Fi Laptop Lending Pilot for Job Seekers $25,000
- Training and Tools for Adult Job Seekers $30,000
- eReaders & Devices $5,000
- Librarians as STEM Educators Program $73,955
Here’s how you can help right now:
- Use the sample messages in this form to contact the offices of your members of Congress (find your members in the link at the top of the page).
- Sign up via this web page to receive updates on the #SaveIMLS effort.
- Start planning how you and other library advocates will participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 2 in Washington D.C.
- Can’t make it to D.C.? Register for Virtual Library Legislative Day! You’ll receive talking points, access to email templates, and other resources to help you take action.
- Join and track the conversations #SaveIMLS, #LibrariesRespond.
- Encourage your friends, family, and colleagues to do take these actions, too!
Timing is key, ACT now!
Some additional information:
The Governor has released his preliminary budget. That budget includes level funding for the public library subsidy (State Aid) program. The Pennsylvania Library Association is advocating for an increase to restore funding to the 2010 level.
The current $54.47 million public library subsidy is the result of a $21 million (32%) cut in 2006. Meanwhile, inflation has reached almost 10% since 2010. PaLA position statement.
Contact your State Legislators (find them by using the link at the top of this page).