Call now to support library funding!

Please call your U.S. senators in Washington, D.C., today and ask them to sign onto a “Dear Colleague” letter that is circulating around the Senate. This letter will be sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee and will be asking the committee to support the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (ILTSL) program in its FY2011 budget.

BACKGROUND ON THE PROGRAMS AND WHAT WE ARE ASKING FOR.

LSTA
Congress is currently drafting the federal budget for fiscal year 2011.  It has never been more important than now that Congress fully funds the LSTA, the only annual source for federal funding to libraries.  LSTA is a population based grant that is distributed to the state librarians through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  As Congress writes next year’s budget they need to understand that dollars from the state and local levels are at an all-time low, and libraries can not continue to do their important work without this funding.

In this “Dear Colleague” letter that is circulating around in the Senate it is urging the Appropriations Committee to include $300 million in funding for LSTA in the FY2011 budget.  Please contact your two senators’ offices and tell them about work your library does in the state and community.  It is always a good idea to stress what programs and resources your library provides to help build the local economy, help kids with their homework, and so much more.  After you have explained how libraries are an incredibly valuable investment, please ask your senator to sign onto the “Dear Colleague” letter supporting LSTA and Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (ILTSL).

School Libraries

In his FY2011 budget request, President Obama consolidated Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (ILTSL) with five other literacy programs. This would mean that school libraries will have to directly compete with other programs to receive federal dollars under the President’s plan.  However, Congress is drafting their own budget for FY2011 right now, and there is no word yet if they will go along with President Obama’s recommendation of consolidation.  Congress needs to hear from you NOW about the important role that school libraries play in today’s schools.

As well as asking the Appropriations Committee to support LSTA, this “Dear Colleague” letter circulating around the Senate is urging the Appropriations Committee to specifically appropriate $100 million for the ILTSL program.  This amount would enable the program will be available to every state, rather than the current competitive grant program.  Please contact your two senators’ offices explaining to them how important having a school library can be in a child’s education.  Please ask them to sign on to the ILTSL and LSTA “Dear Colleague” by customizing the letter below.

The deadline for the “Dear Colleague” letter is April 14, so please contact your senators today and urge them to sign on!  Also, please ask your friends and library supporters to contact their senators as well — we need to keep the pressure on our elected officials so these programs receive the funding they need.

To take action, please take the following steps:

1.  Please go to http://capwiz.com/ala/ or click on the “Take Action!” button in the upper right hand corner of this e-mail.

2.  Customize the sample letter as you see fit — remember, a personal story on how your library uses LSTA and ILTSL funding to benefit their constituents is VERY effective.

3.  Enter your contact information.

4.  Press “Send.”

5.  If you would prefer to call your representative, please call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senator.  The switchboard will transfer you to their office.  If you need to locate your Senators, go to http://capwiz.com/ala/.

(For a video tutorial on how to use our Legislative Action Center click here.)

About Jacob Roberts

Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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