The proposed White House budget for FY19 that was released February 12, 2018 calls for eliminating federal funds for libraries and the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS), the only federal agency charged with providing support to the nation’s hundreds of thousands of libraries and museums. Now it’s up to Congress to decide whether or not they want to change that. ALA and YALSA need your help to ensure that IMLS and federal funds for libraries are saved, because without libraries teens will not have the resources and support they need to succeed in school and prepare for college, careers, and life. Here’s what you can do right now:
- Send an email or Tweet to your members of Congress. ALA has ready-to-use messages waiting for you in their Action Center.
- Sign up via the ALA site to receive action alerts so you can easily email or call the offices of your Congress members at critical times during the budget process between now and Sept.
- Read and subscribe to District Dispatch, the ALA Washington Office’s blog, to stay up to date on the issues.
- Encourage your library users to share their stories about what their local library means to them. ALA will use these with their advocacy efforts. Direct patrons to this quick and easy form.
- Brush up on your advocacy knowledge and skills by checking out the resources on ALA’s shiny, new ala.org/fund-libraries site and YALSA’s web site.
- Sign up to participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 8, online, at your library, or in Washington DC, and check out YALSA’s NLLD resources.
- Connect with your members of Congress when they’re in their home districts to keep them informed about the many ways the library helps community members. Congress is typically not in session the week of a national holiday, like Presidents’ Day. Schedule a meeting at their local office, and/or invite them to your library. YALSA has free resources and tips to make this an easy task!
- Join YALSA, or make a donation, because together we’re stronger. YALSA’s the only national organization that focuses its support and advocacy on teen library services. Dues start at $63 per year. Your support will build our capacity to advocate for teens and libraries.
- Encourage your patrons, advocates groups, friends, family, and colleagues to do the above as well.
Don’t know much about IMLS? Here’s a quick overview: through IMLS, every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories receive funding to support their state or territory’s libraries and museums. In FY17 the total funding IMLS distributed to states and territories was $156,103,000. In addition, IMLS offers competitive grant opportunities that individual libraries and museums can apply for. In FY17 they awarded competitive grants to libraries and library-supporting institutions totaling more than $27,469,000. Visit the IMLS site to see how much funding your state receives from them.
Want to take further action to support teens and libraries? We salute you! Check out the free online resources we have to make speaking up for teens and libraries easy.