The American Library Association (ALA) applauds the funding increases for libraries proposed in President Bush’s fiscal year (FY) 2009 budget, released this morning. The increases in library funding proposed by the President will mean that many of America’s libraries can continue to provide key programs and services to their communities, like bookmobiles and public access to the Internet.
In a budget where domestic discretionary spending was severely restricted and funding for 151 programs was cut or eliminated, the Library Services and Technology Act saw several key increases. Included in LSTA, the most important federal legislation affecting libraries, are the following totals:
- $171.5 million for state grants, an increase of $10.6 million over FY 2008; this funding increase ensures that smaller states will have the resources to serve their populations, a priority the Congress recognized in 2003;
- $12.715 million for the National Leadership Grants for Libraries, an increase of $556,000 over FY 2008;
- $26.5 million for the Recruitment of Librarians for the 21st Century, an increase of $3.16 million over FY 2008;
- $3.717 million for Native Americans Library Services, an increase of $143,000 over FY 2008; and
- $3.5 million for library policy, research, and statistics (included in the administration total), an increase of $1.54 million over FY 2008; this will help libraries identify the programs that most effectively serve users.
“This budget is fantastic news for library users across the country,” said ALA President Loriene Roy. “LSTA is a vital funding source for American citizens, especially children. LSTA monies go toward helping people of all backgrounds achieve literacy, including those with disabilities.”
“Across the country, libraries use LSTA funding for a wide variety of access services,” Dr. Roy added, “including workshops on career information, family literacy classes, homework help and mentoring programs, information on religions and other cultures, access to government information, and so much more.”
“ALA thanks President Bush for recognizing that library services contribute so much to the American people and urges Congress to pass this budget with the proposed LSTA numbers.”
The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is the only federal program exclusively created for libraries, and is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The law’s definition of a library includes institutions of all types and sizes, such as public, academic, research, school, state, and even digital libraries. The law includes grants for Native American and Native Hawaiian library services, as well as National Leadership grants aimed at education and training, research and demonstration projects, the preservation of library materials, and model projects between libraries and museums.
For school libraries, the President requested level funding for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program.
The President requested $174.254 million for the Government Printing Office (GPO). Within GPO, the request includes:
- $97.928 million for Congressional Printing and Binding; and
- $43.426 million for Superintendent of Documents
The ALA Washington Office will continue to provide information as we review the budget documents.