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Senate appropriations letter campaign ends soon

Fund libraries: tell congress to invest in libraries #FundLibrariesThe campaign to save library funding ends next week in the Senate following the recent launch of two “Dear Appropriator” letters supporting funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. The recent FY 2018 Omnibus budget provided increased funding for LSTA and level funding for IAL. The president, however, is recommending elimination of both programs in his FY 2019 budget, adding to the importance of these letters and the need for continued engagement from library advocates.

The bi-partisan LSTA letter is being led by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and requests at least $189 million for LSTA. As of press-time, 24 Senators had added their support to the LSTA letter, slightly more than ½ of the total for last year (45 signatures).

The IAL letter is being led by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and calls for level funding for IAL at $27 million. At press-time 15 Senators had signed (37 last year).

Last year, library advocates across the country responded to our calls to action protecting library funding. Congress heard your voices in the FY 2018 budget, but the campaign continues for FY 2019. The deadline to sign the Senate letters is April 10. Contact your Senators today!

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Kevin Maher

Kevin Maher is the deputy director of government relations at the American Library Association’s Washington Office. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Before coming to the ALA in 2014, Kevin was the vice president of government affairs for the American Hotel and Lodging Association for 20 years.

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