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ALA calls on Congress to restore support to libraries in FY2012 budget

Contact: Jenni Terry 

For Immediate Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — H.R. 1473, the budget bill that will fund the government through September 2011, includes across-the-board cuts that may deeply affect libraries of all kinds. 

The bill, which cleared Congress Thursday night, includes a $28 million cut to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), appropriating the agency at $237.8 million for FY2011.    IMLS has 30 days to determine how they will administer these cuts. 

The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program — the only federal program exclusively for school libraries — was absent from the bill text. The program was last appropriated at $19.1 million in FY2010. By not designating an appropriation for the remainder of FY2011 in this bill, Congress gave authority to the Department of Education to determine funds for school libraries. The Department of Education also has 30 days from the date of enactment of H.R. 1473 to submit to Congress an operating plan for school libraries. 

“These cuts in funding hurt people throughout the United States who depend on libraries,” American Library Association (ALA) President Roberta Stevens said. 

“We are putting our nation at a disadvantage as we compete in a world that realizes and values the importance of being educated and informed.”

As the FY2012 budget debate proceeds, the ALA calls on Congress to restore support for libraries, which serve the American public now more than ever with job hunting and career development. In our schools, libraries provide students with the 21st century skills they need to succeed in the Digital Age.

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  1. claire jeanine satin claire jeanine satin

    As the President of the Friends’ of the Dania Beach Paul DeMaio Library in Dania Beach and a Member of the Broward County Library Advisory Board I am dedicated to supporting the essential need to continue funding libraries. Please exert every effort to see that you support this fundamental institution.

    Thank you.

  2. Rose Rose

    I do wish the ALA would note that the $28 million cut to IMLS included in H.R. 1473 was a pass-through approval of the President’s budget. In other words it was Obama that recommended the cut to IMLS, not Congress. That should give everyone a little pause and extra consideration of who our friends are.

  3. Nan Fowler Nan Fowler

    Is it too late to send emails and letters to our representatives or senators? I might have missed a past issue in which you provided directions as to how to respond to this short sightedness and this dull witted action. Let us know where we should aim our emails and tweets.

  4. Hi Nan!

    While the FY11 budget has been set, there is still work to be done on the 2012 budget. Please check the Legislative Action Center regularly, as we will be posting alerts as that process heats up. It is never too late to communicate your priorities with your legislators, as these issues pop up regularly.

    If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  5. Adam Adam

    Why doesn’t ALA send email blasts that ask members to sign petitions. Some websites ( make it really easy to participate in communicating with congress. I don’t see ALA doing the same this seems like a descent mechanism for getting your voice heard.

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