President’s budget proposal to eliminate federal library funding

IMLS logo This morning, President Trump released his budget proposal for FY2018. The Institute of Museum of Library Services (IMLS) is included in the list of independent agencies whose budgets the proposal recommends eliminating. Library funding that comes through other sources such as the Department of Education, the Department of Labor and the National Endowment for the Humanities is also affected. Just how deeply overall federal library funding is impacted is unclear at this point. The Washington Office is working closely with our contacts in the federal government to gather detailed information. We will provide the analysis of the total impact when it is complete and as quickly as possible.

One thing we all know for certain: Real people will be impacted if these budget proposals are carried through.

While we are deeply concerned about the president’s budget proposal, it is not a done deal. As I said in a statement issued this morning,

“The American Library Association will mobilize its members, congressional library champions and the millions upon millions of people we serve in every zip code to keep those ill-advised proposed cuts from becoming a congressional reality.”

There are several actions we can take right now:

  1. Call your Members of Congress  – ask them to publicly oppose wiping out IMLS, and ask them to commit to fighting for federal library funding. (You can find talking points and an email template on the Action Center.)
  2. Share your library’s IMLS story using the #SaveIMLS tag – tell us how IMLS funding supports your local community. If you aren’t sure which IMLS grants your library has received, you can check the searchable database available on the IMLS website.
  3. Sign up to receive our action alerts – we will let you know when and how to take action, and send you talking points and background information.
  4. Register to participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 1-2, either in Washington, D.C., or online.

Timing is key to the Federal budget/appropriations process. More information – along with talking points and scripts – will be forthcoming from the ALA Washington Office, particularly as it pertains to the upcoming advocacy campaign around “Dear Appropriator” letters. Meanwhile, please take the time to subscribe to action alerts and District Dispatch to ensure you receive the latest updates on the budget process.

The president’s budget has made clear that his funding agenda is not ours. It’s time for library professionals and supporters to make our priorities clear to Congress.

About Julie Todaro

Dr. Julie Todaro is president of the American Library Association (2016-2017). Since 2001 she has been Dean of Library Services Austin Community College (ACC), where she manages eleven full service campus libraries serving 45,000 students. Previously, she served as the president of the Association of College and Research Libraries (2007-2008) and president of the Texas Library Association (2000-2001). Todaro received her Doctorate of Library Services from Columbia University and her Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin.