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House library champions release FY18 “Dear Appropriator” letters

Your limited-time-only chance to ask for your House Member’s backing for LSTA and IAL begins now.

Where does your Representative stand on supporting FY 2018 library funding? Against the backdrop of the President’s proposal last week to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services and virtually all other library funding sources, their answer this year is more important than ever before.

Every Spring, library champions in Congress ask every Member of the House to sign two, separate “Dear Appropriator” letters directed to the Appropriations Committee: one urging full funding for LSTA (which benefits every kind of library), and the second asking the same for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program. This year, the LSTA support letter is being led by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ3). The IAL support letter is being jointly led by Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX30), Don Young (R-AK), and Jim McGovern (D-MA2).Several piles of gold coins symbolizing government funding.

The first “Dear Appropriator” letter asks the Committee to fully fund LSTA in FY 2018 and the second does the same for IAL. When large numbers of Members of Congress sign these letters, it sends a strong signal to the House Appropriations Committee to reject requests to eliminate IMLS, and to continue funding for LSTA and IAL at least at current levels.

Members of the House have only until April 3 to let our champions know that they will sign the separate LSTA and IAL “Dear Appropriator” letters now circulating, so there’s no time to lose. Use ALA’s Legislative Action Center today to ask your Member of Congress to sign both the LSTA and IAL letters. Many Members of Congress will only sign such a letter if their constituents ask them to. So it is up to you to help save LSTA and IAL from elimination or significant cuts that could dramatically affect hundreds of libraries and potentially millions of patrons.

Five minutes of your time could help preserve over $210 million in library funding now at risk.

Soon, we will also need you to ask both of your US Senators to sign similar letters not yet circulating in the Senate, but timing is key. In the meantime, today’s the day to ask your Representative in the House for their signature on both the LSTA and IAL “Dear Appropriator” letters that must be signed no later than April 3.

Whether you call, email, tweet or all of the above (which would be great), the message to the friendly office staff of your Senators and Representative is all laid out at the Legislative Action Center and it’s simple:

“Hello, I’m a constituent. Please ask Representative  ________ to sign both the FY 2018 LSTA and IAL ‘Dear Appropriator’ letters circulating for signature before April 3.”

Please, take five minutes to call, email, or Tweet at your Members of Congress  and watch this space throughout the year for more on how you can help preserve IMLS and federal library funding. We need your help this year like never before.

Supporting Documents:

IAL Approps FY18 Letter

IAL FY18 Dear Colleague

LSTA Dear Colleague and Dear Appropriator letters


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Kevin Maher

As of November 2018, District Dispatch is no longer being updated. It is now being archived for future use. Please visit for the latest news.


  1. Diedre Conkling Diedre Conkling

    How can we find out who has signed the letters?

  2. I am very concerned about the future of our libraries. So far we have already gone through several scares over the years but alas will still exist. The reason we exist is we are the heart of the city. People not only come for books but they come for information, computer use, and classes on technology to keep up with changes in our world. They also use the library for government forms and completing their taxes. In a world where technology is cutting into face to face interaction, the library also gives people a chance to learn and grow together and a safe place for creating and cultivating relationships.

  3. […] This is also an opportune time to recognize challenges facing our libraries nationwide. Right now, in particular, the proposed federal budget completely eliminates Library Services and Technology Act funding administered by the Institute for Museum and Library Services. In New Mexico, this funding supports several services run by the State Library including rural bookmobiles and summer reading program materials that make it much easier for libraries statewide to offer summer programs. The LSTA/IMLS funding also allows the State Library to subscribe to online test preparation, online tutoring, research articles, reference e-books, and other media that anyone in New Mexico can access for free at These resources are not normally freely available online. Finally, the federal funding has allowed the State Library to offer traveling educational programs and mini-grants to libraries for youth science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities (Makerstate Initiative). You can learn more about how LSTA/IMLS funding affects New Mexico libraries here. You can also search for grants made to New Mexico libraries here. Currently, library supporters are focusing on contacting members of the House to ask them to sign a “Dear Appropriator” letter in support of the Library Services and Technology Act. Learn more here. […]

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