In response to today’s House subcommittee vote, ALA President Jim Neal sent ALA members the following update:
I am pleased to report that, this evening, the House Appropriations subcommittee that deals with library funding (Labor, Health & Human Services, Education and Related Agencies) voted to recommend level funding in FY2018 for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS, $231 million), likely including $183 million for the Library Services and Technology Act, as well as $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program.
Four months ago, President Trump announced that he wanted to eliminate IMLS and federal funding for libraries. Since then, all of us have been communicating with our members of Congress about the value of libraries. This evening’s Subcommittee vote, one important step in the lengthy congressional appropriations process, shows that our elected officials are listening to us and recognize libraries’ importance in the communities they represent. We are grateful to the leaders of the Subcommittee, Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK-4) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3), and all Subcommittee members, for their support.
We have not saved FY18 federal library funding yet. Hurdles can arise at each stage of the appropriations process, which will continue into the fall. But the fact that federal library funding was not cut at this particular stage shows what can be accomplished when ALA members work together. We expect the full House Appropriations Committee to vote on the subcommittee bills as early as next Wednesday, July 19. I will send an update as soon as we have the results of the full committee’s actions.
In the meantime, I encourage you to stay informed and stay involved. Libraries and the millions of people we serve are in a better position today because of your advocacy.