President Trump's proposed 2018 federal budget calls for the elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and a cut to the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program administered by the Department of Education.
IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums, including the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The Illinois State Library has used LSTA to help fill the gap caused by state funding shortfalls and LSTA funding supports delivery and other core library system services.
IAL is a federal grant program that supports developing and improving literacy skills for children/students from birth through grade 12. Half of its funds go to school libraries.
Both of these actions would have a dire effect on all types of libraries and the communities they serve. All library supporters are urged to contact their federal representative and ask them to sign the LSTA and IAL "Dear Appropriator" letters to let the Appropriations Committees know there is wide support for LSTA and IAL. The deadline is April 3 as the letters are currently circulating in the House. (Similar letters will begin circulating in the Senate in late April or early May.)
Visit the American Library Association's Action Center and register to identify and send your Member of Congress a pre-composed email. You can also send a tweet or make a phone call.
You can also register with the Illinois delegation to attend National Library Legislative Day on May 1-2 to show your support for libraries in person.
The links below provide more information about the proposed budget cut and what you can do to help:
- ALA, Government Relations; Fight for Libraries
- ALA, District Dispatch: Top 10 Things to Know (and Do) about Saving Library Funding
- ALA, District Dispatch: House Library Champions Release FY18 "Dear Appropriator" Letters
- American Libraries Magazine: Fight for Libraries This Week
- ALA, District Dispatch: President's Budget Proposal to Eliminate Federal Library Funding
- ilovelibraries: Making the Federal Case for Libraries
- ALA News: President's budget proposal to eliminate federal library funding 'counterproductive and shortsighted'
- IMLS: Institute of Museum and Library Services Issues Statement on the President's Proposed FY 18 Budget