For a fourth consecutive year, the White House budget proposal for FY21 eliminates direct federal funding for libraries.
The majority of this funding is provided through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which provides more than $189.3 million for libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act. The budget proposal also cuts $27 million from the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program, which helps school libraries serve students in the most vulnerable communities across America.
According to EveryLibrary, a political action committee that provides advising and consulting services to libraries across the country, “The IMLS is the primary source of federal funding for the nation’s libraries and museums. IMLS provides grants to libraries in need to replace technology and infrastructure. Many rural and urban communities depend on these grants to continue operations and provide essential community services. In small towns and big cities, museums are vital to sharing the arts, extending our cultural memory, and connecting us with people we’d never otherwise have met. IMLS is a primary source of federal grant funding to extend state and local resources in order to educate students, preserve and digitize collections, and connect families with their communities.”
Furthermore, says EveryLibrary, “Every state library puts IMLS funding to work in critically important ways that are high-impact for their states. Public libraries often provide the only broadband access to rural communities and many Americans in all areas often rely on this access to apply to jobs, access training, and to learn new skills. Many entrepreneurs use the resources found in the library to get a competitive edge in an increasingly global marketplace. IMLS funding supports school readiness programs, provides resources and materials to educators, helps libraries develop resources for underserved and at-risk populations and funds pilot projects that enable libraries to address the needs of their communities in creative ways.”
Please tweet at your members of Congress and urge them to publicly oppose cuts to federal library funding. We need them to commit to libraries in FY21!