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#FundLibraries infographic now an audio description file, thanks to the Colorado Talking Book Library

This infographic, created by the American Library Association (ALA), looks like a winding path with 9 stops on it. It represents the path of the federal appropriations cycle. It shows when and how ALA advocates and supporters can help. The nine steps are described as follows: 1. Step One is the White House Proposal: This proposal signals the president's policy priorities. Congress will ultimately decide the budget. 2. Step Two is the Budget Resolution: Committees in the House and Senate develop their own budget framework. 3. Step Three is the Dear Appropriator Letters: Letters supporting numerous federal programs, like Library Services Technology Act and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program, circulate and are signed by senators and representatives and submitted to the Appropriations Committees to indicate support. This is the first place where you can participate. We ask you to email us with your library success stories. You can send your stories to ALA’s government relations team brings those stories directly to Capitol Hill. Don’t forget to include your zip code! You can also contact your Members of Congress directly and tell them what the library means to you. Visit for pre-written templates or email for a copy of the templates. 4. Step Four is the Appropriations Subcommittees: Both subcommittees create individual bills and set specific funding levels. Library funding is determined by the Labor-HHS Subcommittees. This is the second place where you can participate. This is another great moment to contact your representatives and tell them what the library means to you. 5. Step five is the Full Committees: Once subcommittees agree, full committees of each chamber meet again to mark up the individual bills. 6. Step Six is the Floor Votes: The draft bills go to their chambers for a floor vote. This is the third place where you can participate. This is the last opportunity in the cycle to contact your representatives and tell them what the library means to you. We encourage you to thank your elected federal officials on social media. It only takes a few mentions on Twitter to get their attention! 7. Step Seven is the Conference Meeting: When the appropriations bills have been approved in each chamber, they meet to reconcile differences. 8. Step Eight are the Final Votes: Reconciled, the final version goes back to both chambers for a final vote. 9. Step Nine is the President's Signature: Like all bills, the president can sign or veto the budget. The president has to sign by October 1 or Congress must pass continuing resolutions for the government to stay open. For more information, visit or, and thank you for advocating for libraries!Since the President’s budget proposal dropped (less than two weeks ago) library advocates have been voicing their support for the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Over 15,000 emails have been sent via the ALA Action Center.

In order to help patrons of the national network of Talking Book and Braille Libraries, also known as the LBPH Network, the Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) has shared the ALA infographic on the legislative process and created the corresponding audio description file with LBPH network libraries so they can inform their patrons.

“Many libraries in the network are depending on Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding and our patrons speak with their legislators about what the libraries mean to them. This is a great resource for understanding the entire legislative process,” says Debbi MacLeod, director of the CTBL. “We posted the Digital Talking Book version to BARD, the audio download service for the network. LBPH libraries partner with the Library of Congress, National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).”

According to IMLS’s newly released Five-Year Evaluations, individuals with disabilities are the second largest beneficiary group of the grants to states program. Thanks to LSTA and other IMLS funds, many state libraries are able to support Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped or Talking Book services, which provide access to reading materials in alternate formats. We often hear about how life-changing these services can be, and although there is federal coordination behind some of these offerings, there are no dedicated federal funding streams for them at the local and state level. IMLS Grants to States funding often fills that gap.

“The funding also supports the large print collection and our large print resource sharing program we have with other libraries in CO,” says MacLeod. “Our patrons routinely tell us: ‘I really look forward to getting my books, they are my lifeline,’ and ‘I thought I would never read again, but CTBL changed that.'”

We are very grateful to Director Debbi MacLeod as well as CTBL’s Studio Director Tyler Kottmann and all of the CTBL staff for recording this infographic to help NLS patrons engage in the legislative process. We’ll have more news soon about the next steps (in particular, step 3 on the infographic!). In the meantime, please continue to voice your support for libraries directly to your members of Congress via email and social media.

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Emily Wagner

Emily is a deputy director of Advocacy Communications in the ALA's Advocacy and Public Policy Office. She holds a bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke College and a master's in library and information science from Catholic University.

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