Currently, there is a letter circulating by Jeffrey Scherer, board chair for Libraries for the Future in New York and architect at Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle in Minneapolis, who claims the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 does not contain funding for libraries. Mr. Scherer, though good-intentioned, has misunderstood and misrepresented the bill. We wish to set the record straight before more confusion ensues. Mr. Scherer wrote that, “While it includes roads and bridges to drive across our communities, it must include our intellectual bridges, the public library.” Libraries are, in fact, included as a qualifying institution for the K-12 Repair and Modernization funding and the Higher Education Repair and Modernization funding.
Additionally, libraries can benefit from several other programs that benefit from stimulus funding in the legislation, including the Rural Community Facilities Program. Mr. Scherer is correct that libraries should benefit from the funds included to modernize federal and other public infrastructure, and it is our job as librarians and library supporters to inform Congress and our governors of this fact.
Click here to view the full text of the House version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Click here to read the ALA summary of programs included in the House version of the stimulus that can benefit libraries.
We will continue to update the District Dispatch as we move forward in this process.
Executive Director ALA Washington Office