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Federal Library Funding Numbers Announced

Today, the conference report was filed on the fiscal year (FY) 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations (Labor-HHS) bill. In an effort to prevent a threatened veto by the President, conferees agreed to combine spending for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Labor-HHS bill.

Despite the extremely tight budget environment, in which many programs were cut significantly or eliminated altogether, the conference report funds the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) at $277,131,000, an increase of $29,926,000. The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) was funded at $224,066,000, with $171,500,000 million for the State Grant program.

This is a major victory for the American Library Association (ALA), which has long advocated for the State Grant program to receive this level of funding. It allows for full implementation of a 2003 law to provide a more equitable distribution of state formula grants. In 2003, all of the states and Congress agreed that the base should be doubled to help even the playing field for the small states, while ensuring that large states don’t face an undue burden to achieve that. Currently, all funding increases to the state program go to the base, and not to population increases for the large states.

Funding for Selected Programs FY 2008 Conference Agreement
Library State Grants $171,500,000
Native American Library Services $3,817,000
National Leadership Grants for Libraries $12,375,000
Recruitment of Librarians for the 21st Century $23,760,000
Administration total for IMLS $12,360,000

The conference agreement also includes language that gives IMLS the authority and resources to carry out the mission of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) and includes $400,000 for NCLIS’ close-out activities.

The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program also received an increased to $21,243,000.

The President has announced he plans to veto the combined conference report.

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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