Call now to support library funding!

With this being an election year and a Congress that has spent a LOT of money on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and other jobs-related bills, the political climate in Washington is tougher today than it has been in the past. Many members of Congress are afraid to sign-on to any letter that is asking for an increase of spending, regardless of the program, because many do not want to be labeled as contributing to the national deficit more than they already have. It is important now more than ever that you make sure that your federally elected officials understand how important libraries are in the local communities.

Please call your Representative in Washington TODAY and ask him/her to sign onto two letters circulating around Congress. The deadline has been extended to March 17, and it is critically import that they sign-on to this letter in the next twenty-four hours.

LSTA
Congress is currently busy drafting up the federal budget for fiscal year 2011. It has never been more important than now that Congress fully funds the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the only annual source for federal funding to libraries.  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 with out this funding.

There is a letter circulating around the House of Representatives urging the Appropriations Committee to include $300 million in funding through LSTA in the FY2011 budget. Please contact your representative’s office and tell them about work your library does in the community. It is always a good idea to stress what programs and resources your library provide 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 representative to sign onto the “Dear Colleague” letter supporting LSTA.  

School Libraries
In his FY2011 budget, President Obama consolidated Improving Literacy Through School Libraries 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 busy drafting up 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 their constituents NOW about the important role that school libraries play in today’s schools.

School Libraries

Right now there is a letter circulating around the House of Representatives urging the Appropriations Committee to specifically appropriate $100 million for Improving Literacy Through School Libraries. This amount means that this program will be available to every state, rather than the current competitive grant program. Please contact your representative’s office explaining to them how important having a school library can be in a child’s education. Please ask them to sign on to the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries “Dear Colleague” by customizing the letter below.

It is of the utmost importance that you contact your Representative today and urge them to sign on to these letters! We need to keep the pressure on our elected officials until the deadline for signatures on these critical letters expires. Grijalva and Ehlers plan to send the letter on Wednesday, March 17, so time is of the essence.

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 telephone your representative, please call the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask for your representative. The switchboard will transfer you to their office. If you need to locate your members of Congress, go to http://capwiz.com/ala/.

UPDATE:

These members have currently signed onto the Dear Colleagues:

LSTA:
Klein
Castor
Lewis, John
McGovern
Pingree
Holt
Grijalva
Maffei
Van Hollen
Michaud
Ehlers
Wu
Oberstar
Hinchey
Ross
McDermott
Baldwin
Scott, Bobby
Fattah

ILTSL:
Carson
Pingree
Holt
Grijalva
Davis
Maffei
Van Hollen
Michaud
Ehlers
Wu
Oberstar
Hinchey
Ross
McDermott
Pierluisi
Conyers
Baldwin
Polis

About Jacob Roberts

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

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