Advocacy works: Garrett backs down on amendment to zero out IMLS

Good work, everybody! Because of ALA’s unprecedented grassroots efforts this week on amendment #35 to H.R. 1 (the Continuing Resolution to the FY2011 budget) was defeated! This victory for libraries is undoubtedly due to the strong grassroots efforts of librarians and library supporters all across the country.

As you recall, late Monday evening U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ-5) introduced an amendment that would eliminate all funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) including funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the primary source of federal dollars to libraries.

Today, as the U.S. House of Representatives wraps up floor debate on HR 1, Rep. Garrett has made it clear to us that he is no longer “pushing” for a vote on his amendment. Once the House passes H.R. 1, – likely today or tomorrow – the budget will be sent over to the Senate where they will have the opportunity to make amendments and vote on this year’s budget bill.

Even though we overcame this amendment, our work is not done. H.R. 1 still has to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President.

Also, libraries face cuts in President Obama’s FY2012 budget request sent to Congress on February 14. In his request, President Obama cuts funding to LSTA by $20 million as well as consolidates Improving Literacy Through School Libraries with other literacy programs in the Department of Education. ALA needs you to continue your calls to Congress in our fight to protect library funding in FY’12.

Now, more than ever, we need your participation on May 9-10, 2011 at ALA’s National Library Legislative Day in Washington D.C. where you will have the opportunity to meet with your members of Congress and explain to them why cutting library funding would be short-sighted.

About Jacob Roberts

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

Share your thoughts