This week, I joined my colleague Kevin Maher, assistant director of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office of Government Relations, in meeting with staff from Reach Out and Read, Save the Children and Reading Is Fundamental to lobby congressional Appropriators staff for level funding for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), a grant program with at least half of funding going to school libraries.
In the U.S. Senate and U.S. House, both Republicans and Democrats all talked about how tight the budget will be, how little money is available….but how much they all want to have an appropriation. But in the Senate, they are not optimistic that they can get a Labor, Health and Human Services education bill on to the U.S. Senate floor for a vote (that hopefully passes).
Many congressional staff members advised us to make sure Members of Congress know about the IAL funding program and how it benefits school libraries. For the first time, we need to submit electronic appropriations forms (like folks used to have to do for earmarks in the past) for all programs, and it will be a stronger submission with a “hometown” local connection.
We are asking every school that has received an IAL grant to support the ALA’s advocacy efforts. Email Kevin Maher kmaher[at]alawash[dot]org with a good story as soon as possible. These forms are due March 12, 2015, so we do not have much time.