Federal Advocacy Alert: #FundLibraries 2020
On March 11, the White House released its budget proposal for FY2020. Once again, the administration has proposed to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which provides approximately $189.3 million in direct funding to libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The proposal also cuts the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program administered by the Department of Education.
This work is particularly important as the battle for domestic spending becomes more intense. Fortunately, Congress decides the levels of federal spending, not the Administration. Over the past two years, Congress has rejected the Administration’s funding priorities. This success has come with the work of a great many people, led by the support of library leaders such as yourselves. Unfortunately, we will need to again work to ensure libraries continue to receive federal funding.
The #FundLibraries 2020 national campaign launched this week in response to the President’s budget. A key component to the campaign is the circulation of two “Dear Appropriator” letters which support library funding. This year’s “Dear Appropriator” letters have started to circulate in the House, asking Representatives to preserve more than $210 million in federal library funding.
One letter asks members of the House Appropriations Committee to fully fund the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the other asks the Committee to fully fund the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. The more signatures we have, the better the chance that the appropriators will protect funding for LSTA and IAL programs. The bipartisan LSTA letter is being led by Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Don Young (R-AK) and the bipartisan IAL letter is being led by Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Don Young (R-AK), and Jim McGovern (D-MA).
Now is the time to let your U.S. representative know how important libraries are to their constituents. Ask them to preserve more than $210 million in federal funding, and to sign on to the LSTA letter and the IAL letter. The more signatures we have, the better our chances will be to protect funding for libraries across the country.
The House deadline is March 28. Send your emails now!