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Short-term bill funds Improving Literacy Through School Libraries but fight’s not over for FY2011

With time running out before the current funding bill for federal programs expired, Congress passed another short-term continuing resolution (CR) (H.J.Res. 44) this week — dodging a government shut-down. The President signed the bill yesterday, which makes $4 billion in cuts but will fund the government for another two weeks at until March 18, 2011.

In this recently passed short-term CR, several U.S. Department of Education programs were eliminated, including some literacy programs such as Striving Readers ($250 million), Even Start ($66.5 million), and Reading is Fundamental ($24.8 million).  However, Improving Literacy Through School Libraries was one of the education programs that were not cut.  This program, which was last appropriated at $19.1 million, provides school libraries with up-to-date materials and will be funded at its current level for another next two weeks.

It is clear that everyone’s efforts in contacting their senators and congressional representatives have an effect; however, we are a long way from protecting this program for the remainder of FY2011.  This short-term CR will run out on March 18, and the U.S. House of Representatives sent a bill (H.R. 1) to the Senate two weeks ago that would eliminate funding for Improving Literacy Through School Libraries for FY 2011.

Please continue to put pressure on your elected officials to continue library funding.  We may have earned a first down with this short-term CR, but we are a long ways from winning the game!

Jeff Kratz
Assistant Director, OGR

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