If you have been to this page in the last few weeks, you know that the President has proposed wiping out all library funding – and the agency that administers much of it (IMLS) – in his initial FY 2018 budget proposal. You also know that thousands of librarians, library supporters, users, vendors and citizen advocates in literally every Congressional district in the country used the ALA Legislative Action Center and many other channels to insist that their Representative in the House sign two “Dear Appropriator” letters to the Appropriations Committee asking them to preserve funding this year for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.
Well, you hit it out of the park at our first at bat of the FY 2018 appropriations lobbying season. One-third of the entire House of Representatives — from both parties — signed each of those Dear Appropriator letters and nearly 170 Members signed at least one! That is a nearly 18% increase in support for IAL and a record-shattering 64% increase for LSTA. Now, we have absolutely got to keep the rally you started going through this calendar year. But, just like in baseball, it’s one “at-bat” and one inning at a time.
Later in April, it will be both of your US Senators’ turns to hear how much you want them to save IMLS and to keep the budget ax well away from LSTA and IAL funding for FY 2018. While our champions in the Senate warm up before delivering their own Dear Appropriator pitches, however, you can help load the bases now by driving this line to your Member of the House and both your Senators: “Please save IMLS and fight for full FY 2018 LSTA and IAL funding this year.”
Please, stay tuned for a loud “batter up!” That will be the signal to knock our Senate LSTA and IAL Dear Appropriator letter signatures out of the park (again!). Check this Senate tracker to see if your Senator signed last year and stay tuned for updates on who is signing this year.