President Obama released his draft FY17 budget today. The next step is for Congress to take it up. Congress will spend the spring and summer working on their version, with the ultimate goal to have a final budget passed in fall. In the President’s budget, proposed funding for the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) is down by $500,000 over last year, grants to state libraries are down $900,000, and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant program (a funding opportunity for school libraries) is level funded at $27 million. These are all vital programs that support the nation’s libraries. ALA’s President, Sari Feldman, issued a statement today expressing disappointment.
In order for Congress to restore the funding removed by the President, Congress will need to hear from voters that libraries are vital and deserve more funding. You can help! ALA is calling on library staff and advocates to reach out to their members of Congress while they are home in their districts Feb. 15 – 20. Call them, visit them or invite them to your library and ask them to restore the funding for these important programs. Get the details from this ALA blog post. Also, YALSA has lots of great tips and instructions on the wiki to make it easy for you to reach out to your Congressperson and invite them to your library or schedule a visit at their local office.
To keep up with federal funding for libraries, subscribe to (it’s free) the District Dispatch blog from the ALA Washington Office.