The White House budget proposes to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and cut $186.6 million in federal funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the only direct federal library funding.
Gale, a Cengage company, in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) and other publishers, has initiated an advocacy campaign highlighting the educational and economic value of libraries, in order to gain legislator support of library funding.
We have collected here many resources to help you advocate for libraries.
For Individual Library Supporters
The following resources make it easy for individuals to find and contact legislators. Take action and share your efforts to inspire others to do the same. Calls and emails work best—paper mail, even postcards, often take a month or more to arrive. Stay engaged and informed by visiting the ALA’s District Dispatch blog.
You may also want to:
- Email, call, and/or tweet at your Senators and ask them to support library funding by signing the “Dear Appropriator” letters being circulated now.
- Attend a Town Hall meeting and engage directly with your local Representative. Ask him or her if they support funding libraries.
- Sign up to support libraries at EveryLibrary, and join their fight on behalf of local libraries across the U.S.
Resources for Businesses
Library vendors, trade organizations and their vendors have a unique and critical role to play. Lending the voice of the business community to extend the efforts of libraries and library professionals will more effectively educate lawmakers about the overall negative economic impact of defunding libraries.
Here are ways you can get involved:
- Contact ALA’s Washington Office directly to:
- Tell them you’d like to help save federal library funding, provide your contact details and that you’d be willing to endorse a joint letter from multiple businesses to Members of Congress.
- Join the newly formed “Libraries mean Business” coalition now being organized by ALA and Gale (no financial commitment is required).
- Educate your staff, vendors, and other partners about how federal funding changes could adversely affect your business, and share resources to make it easy for them to take action to prevent those changes from happening.
- Consider offering financial or other support to fuel the public education efforts of the ALA or EveryLibrary, the first and only nonprofit Political Action Committee operating in the interest of local libraries.
There are no guarantees in politics, except to say that if the library and vendor communities remain passive, federal funding for libraries could well disappear. Here are some additional resources to help you get and stay informed.
- ALA’s Legislative Action Center and Fight for Libraries! sites share a number of resources and tips on how to communicate with elected officials.
- Read the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Statement on the President’s Proposed FY 18 Budget.
- View a preliminary summary of the impact of the proposed budget on the IMLS, Department of Education and other government agencies.
- Learn how IMLS’ Grants to States program works and use the IMLS State Profiles pages to learn more about how LSTA funds are used in your area.
- Subscribe to District Dispatch, ALA’s blog for sharing information and action alerts, and sign up for those alerts at their .
- Join the ALA and participate in National Library Legislative Day taking place May 1-2, 2017!