On Thursday, January 15, the House of Representatives released its version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — the highly anticipated “stimulus” we have all heard and read so much about over the last few months.
Though this is the first step of a long and uncertain legislative process, the current version looks very promising for America’s libraries. Congress, it seems, has understood our message — more Americans are using library resources to overcome the challenges of a weakened economy. Investing into libraries so that they can continue to serve the public is a wise and efficient use of stimulus funding.
The House version includes funding for a host of programs libraries benefit from including, Education for the 21st Century, K-12 Repair and Modernization, Higher Education Repair and Modernization, Rural Community Facilities Program, State Broadband Development, Community Service Employment for Older Americans, National Endowment for the Arts, and Head Start/Early Head Start.
Yet, as encouraged as we are by this news, the ALA and its membership must be equally determined to keep up our advocacy efforts in order to ensure that the final bill Congress places on the new President’s desk includes resources libraries need to continue delivering the services the public depends upon. In addition to personally reaching out to our representatives in the House and Senate, we must encourage library users — of all ages — in our communities to speak up for libraries as well.
To view the full text of the House version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, click here.
The House Appropriations Committee Report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 can be seen here.
Click here for the ALA summary of programs included in the House version of the stimulus that can benefit libraries.
Learn more about how to communicate with your elected officials through the ALA Legislative Action Center.
As we move forward, the ALA will continue to explore additional opportunities to enable libraries to continue delivering crucial services during this time of economic downturn. Let’s do all we can to ensure the stimulus package includes libraries in America’s mission to recover!
Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director
ALA Washington Office