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White House budget proposal continues to miscalculate the value of libraries

In its FY2019 budget released today, the White House proposed eliminating the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated to America’s libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The decision echoes the FY 2018 proposal, which also eliminated the grant-making agency and its programs. The administration’s budget also calls for elimination and/or severe cuts to many other federal programs that support libraries, including Innovative Approaches to Literacy, a Department of Education program.

The following statement was made by ALA President Jim Neal:

“The administration’s FY2019 budget is out of touch with the real needs of Americans and the priorities of leaders in Congress who represent them. The president miscalculates the value of more than 120,000 libraries across America, just as he did in his FY2018 budget proposal.

“There is bipartisan support for libraries in Congress, where decision-makers know that to cut funding for libraries is to undercut opportunity for their constituents.

“Thanks to its Grants to States program, IMLS funding provides services that benefit everyone in our communities, including:

  • Veterans in California who receive assistance claiming well-earned benefits to further their education, get medical treatment, start a business and transition to civilian life.
  • Students in Arkansas who prepare for today’s competitive job market by participating in coding classes taught by trained school and public librarians.
  • Entrepreneurs in rural North Carolina who received business development assistance from an IMLS-funded business and technology outreach librarian.
  • Adults in Kansas who take GED courses and use otherwise cost-prohibitive exam preparation tools to advance their education and improve career prospects.

“This administration’s new budget also decreases resources for children. Cutting federal support for programs like Innovative Approaches to Literacy comes at the cost of early literacy and improved student achievement, especially in the most underserved areas of our nation.

“Withholding federal support for libraries means withholding services that foster achievement, develop the workforce and contribute to local economies. ALA members will continue to highlight the value of libraries to our elected leaders in every U.S. congressional district. And we are confident that our congressional leaders will continue to protect the federal programs that invest in our communities.”

To take action, visit the ALA Action Center. You can also find additional resources at the Fund Libraries campaign page.

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Kathi Kromer

Kathi Kromer is the Associate Executive Director of the American Library Association's Washington Office.

14 Comments

  1. Kathy Risinger Kathy Risinger

    we need libraries I’m a 59 year old doing my ged testing at hartford city indiana library and I use the library a lot. Please keep it going they have a lot of young kids who likes going their.

  2. Barbara Tieman Barbara Tieman

    Yes we need our libraries. They are a community within a community. Libraries are a place of resources. They are who we are. Without a library, who are we. There are many adults and children from academic, archival, law, music public and school libraries that thrive on wanting to educate. We use our libraries for more than just reading a book, it teaches us to write a book in many forms. We help our community with their resumes ; to getting a job in their area and even entertaining. In other words, communication is the key to unlock the door to communicate with our towns, cities, and the world in our library. Libraries open the world to us, basically in our own backyard.

  3. WE NEED LIBRARIES !!!!!! LIBRARIES AND LIBRARIANS ARE THE BACK BONE OF A COMMUNITY !!!!! THE SERVICES THEY OFFER ARE VITAL!!! THEY ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT, THE MOST NON-POLITICAL, OPEN , WELCOMING, DIVERSE ENTITY IN A COMMUNITY……….THE SOUL OF THE COMMUNITY !!! DESTROYING THEM IS AN ACT OF COMPLETE AND UTTER IGNORANCE AND HATE !!!! WHY DO YOU THINK HITLER DESTROYED LIBRARIES ????? HE WAS AFRAID OF THEM, THEY WENT AGAINST EVERY DESPICABLE, HATEFUL, DEPLORABLE , EVIL PRINCIPLE HE LIVED BY !!! SAVE OUR LIBRARIES FROM THE UNEDUCATED, DEPRAVED , BLATHERING OF THE IGNORANT PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DESTROY THEM !!!

  4. Leslie A. Norman Leslie A. Norman

    Kids love libraries. Parents love libraries. Free books! Free programs! Dree My brother-in-law is a young adult librarian: maker spaces, art exhibits, punk rock concerts where 300 kids show up! Prison libraries where some inmates get GEDs. Local libraries provides computers for lower income citizens – very important as job applications are increasingly only available online. President Trump has no undert of how Americans live.

  5. Joelle orr Joelle orr

    We need libraries don’t cut funding

  6. Hannah K Hannah K

    We need our libraries. Do not cut the funding! I love going to the library weekly.

  7. […] ALA Washington Office has mobilized to help librarians get the word out to their representatives, via its #FundLlibraries initiative. And, if you haven’t made plans yet to attend the ALA’s National Library Legislative Day, […]

  8. […] ALA Washington Office has mobilized to help librarians get the word out to their representatives, via its #FundLlibraries initiative. And, if you haven’t made plans yet to attend the ALA’s National Library Legislative Day, […]

  9. Anna Derouchie Anna Derouchie

    Libraries are an important resource for people of all ages. The services provided in libraries goes far beyond the keepers of materials. Classes, workshops, homework help, etc. help to build community. Funding is needed to enhance and promote new programming.

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