Quick history of the Museum and Library Services Act

Director of the Washington Office Germaine Krettek (far left) and Executive Director of the ALA David Clift (second to left, behind Ms. Krettek) attend a 1964 White House event with President Lyndon Johnson (far right).

Director of the Washington Office Germaine Krettek (far left) and Executive Director of the ALA David Clift (second to left, behind Ms. Krettek) with President Lyndon Johnson (far right) in 1964.

When we talk about saving the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding, we are also talking about the Museum and Library Services Act (MLSA), a piece of legislation with a 53-year long history.

Here’s a quick background:

1964: The 36th U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA), which enabled the federal government to provide direct aid for public libraries. This act and its successors represent the largest federal investment in public libraries.

1996: In its nearly forty-year history, the LSCA underwent numerous reauthorizations until 1996 when it was replaced by the LSTA, enacted within the Museum and Library Services Act (MLSA), the current legislation that authorizes funding for libraries across the nation. The MLSA of 1996 was sponsored by Republican Representative Bill Young from Florida’s 10th congressional district. It established IMLS, which combined the Institute of Museum Services (which had been in existence since 1976) and the Library Programs Office (which had been part of the Department of Education since 1956) and, in 1996, authorized federal funding for IMLS and LSTA through FY 2002.

2003: The 43rd U.S. President George W. Bush signed MLSA into law again. It was sponsored by Republican Representative Peter Hoekstra from Michigan’s 2nd congressional district and authorized federal funding for LSTA through FY 2009.

2010: The 44th U.S. President Barack Obama again renewed MLSA. This time, the legislation was sponsored by Democrat Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island and authorized federal funding for LSTA through FY 2016.

There are seven instances when MSLA was introduced and did not advance in previous Congresses:

2015-2016 (114th Congress) S. 3391 Museum and Library Services Act of 2016Sen. Reed Jack (RI) D

2009-2010 (111th Congress) S. 3984 Museum and Library Services Act of 2010 Sen. Reed Jack (RI) D
2003-2004 (108th Congress) S. 888 Museum and Library Services Act of 2003 Sen. Gregg Judd (NH) R
2003-2004 (108th Congress) S. 238 Museum and Library Services Act of 2003 Sen. Reed Jack (RI) D
2003-2004 (108th Congress) H.R. 13 Museum and Library Services Act of 2003 Rep. Hoekstra Peter (MI-2) R
2001-2002 (107th Congress) S. 2611 Museum and Library Services Act of 2002 Sen. Reed Jack (RI) D
2001-2002 (107th Congress) H.R. 3784 Museum and Library Services Act of 2002 Rep. Hoekstra Peter (MI-2) R

About Kevin Maher

Kevin Maher is the deputy director of Government Relations. His portfolio includes federal appropriations and telecommunications issues. Previously, Kevin worked in congressional affairs for the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the U.S. Travel Association.

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