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The fight for library funding is on in the U.S. Senate

The Fight for Libraries! has moved to the United States Senate. Today, two “Dear Appropriator” letters began circulating in the Senate, one seeking $186.6 million for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the other $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Libraries (IAL) program for FY 2018. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are again championing funds for LSTA, while Sens. Reed, Grassley (R-IA) and Stabenow (D-MI) are leading the fight for IAL. For more information about each program and the appropriations process, visit our previous posts on this topic or watch our most recent webinar.Fight For Libraries! Tell Congress to save library funding.

Senators have until May 19 to let our champions know that they will sign the separate LSTA and IAL “Dear Appropriator” letters, so there’s no time to lose. Use ALA’s Legislative Action Center today to contact both of your Senators and ask them to support federal funding for libraries by signing on to both the Reed/Collins LSTA and Reed/Grassley/Stabenow IAL Dear Appropriator letters.

Many Senators will only sign if their constituents ask them to. Let them know why libraries are important to your community and ask them directly to show their support.

Last month, library advocates succeeded in convincing a record one-third of all Members of the House to sign the House versions of these LSTA and IAL letters. We need you to keep that momentum going by collectively convincing at least half of all Senators to do the same!

Given the President’s proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and virtually all other library funding sources, the support of both your Senators is more important than ever before. Five minutes of your time could help preserve over $210 million in library funding that’s at serious risk.

To take action, visit the Action Center for additional talking points and easy-to-send email templates. Then keep an eye on our database to see if your Senators have signed.

Have a few more minutes to invest in the fight for library funding? Here are some fast and enormously helpful things you can do as well:

  1. Share your library’s federal funding story and support for LSTA and IAL on Twitter using the #SaveIMLS hashtag. Tell us how IMLS funding supports your local community through LSTA or other means. (If you aren’t sure which IMLS grants your library has received, you can check the searchable database available on the IMLS website.)
  2. Whether you tweet it or not, tell us your story so we can make sure that your Members of Congress know how federal library funding is working for them and their constituents at home.
  3. Sign up to receive our action alerts so we can let you know when and how to take action, and send you talking points and background information to make that easy, all through the year.
  4. Participate in Virtual Library Legislative Day starting on May 1 and sign up for our Thunderclap.

Thank you for your indispensable support. Together, we can win the Fight for Libraries!

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Kevin Maher

Kevin Maher is the deputy director of government relations at the American Library Association’s Washington Office. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Before coming to the ALA in 2014, Kevin was the vice president of government affairs for the American Hotel and Lodging Association for 20 years.


  1. […] The budget deal also also spares libraries—for now. It includes just under $184 million in federal library funding, including the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a $1 million increase over 2016 levels. Trump had proposed zeroing out the IMLS. The good news came just as more than 500 librarians are gathering in Washington D.C. to meet with lawmakers as part of the American Library Association’s annual National Library Legislative Day. But ALA officials told librarians that the budget battle for libraries is far from over, and that the battle for full funding in the 2018 budget is already underway. […]

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