What are the major legislative issues affecting young adult library services?’ This post will focus on two.
First, the 2011 funding level for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). ALA is encouraging members to ask their congressional leaders to fund LSTA at $300 million for FY 2011.
LSTA funding is distributed to states by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through population-based grants.’ LSTA is the only source of federal funding for public libraries, and with more and more public libraries facing state and local budget cuts, it is critically important that libraries receive this money. In this case, we are not seeking to pass legislation, but to influence the funding level for legislation that is already in effect.
Second, the good news. In August, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1586, a $26-billion state aid package intended to prevent layoffs of educators and other state and local government workers. $10 billion will go specifically to education, and school librarians can benefit from this funding.
However, ALA is continuing to lobby for additional support to school libraries, specifically for the inclusion of school libraries in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ALA is pushing for the ESEA to include a goal of having a school library staffed by a state-licensed school librarian in every public school, and to open state and local professional development funds to school libraries for the recruiting and training of school librarians.
The ESEA legislation will determine education policy for years to come. We need to make sure that it includes school libraries.