The American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office expresses its gratitude to the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 3293 (the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill) Friday, July 24, and including an increase in funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to State Library Agencies program.
The program was allocated $172,561,000, approximately $1 million over the FY 2009 level.
This slight increase is evidence the House recognizes the need to invest funding into our nation’s libraries to ensure the public has no-fee access to the information, technology, and job skills training they require, particularly during the current economic situation.
When the public demand for library services increases, so does the need for federal funding — and right now library use it is at its highest levels while many libraries are struggling to keep the lights on and the doors open. If libraries are to continue going beyond providing basic services in order to meet new needs of their communities — such as computer skills training and job search assistance — Congress must provide sufficient funding, and this is a step in the right direction.
The library community has worked hard to ensure members of Congress understand the vital role of libraries in communities, and we will continue to advocate for more funding so that libraries can remain on the frontlines of the economic recovery. As Congress moves forward through the appropriations process, we urge the Senate to build on the House’s action and increase the funding level for the LSTA.
Emily Sheketoff, executive director
ALA Washington Offce