MLA Advocacy - March 23, 2017

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IMLS Funding Impacts Michigan Libraries

The president's proposed budget includes the elimination of $210 million in federal funding that will directly impact the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the agency that distributes the funds to every state in the country including Michigan. IMLS provides funds through the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) grants to state programs.

If this budget passes, the impact in Michigan would be felt most severely in the funding of MeL and MeLCat including the databases provided through the Library of Michigan. LSTA funds provide a majority of their support. The federal budget does not affect Michigan's state aid to libraries, penal fines or any funding provided to the Library of Michigan from Michigan's budget.

The Michigan Department of Education, Library of Michigan, has a line item in the Michigan budget for the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) and for the past several years has received $1.7 million for its support. Federal funding from IMLS is about $4.3 million for a total expenditure of $6 million. Without the federal money, the Library of Michigan would have to eliminate databases, possibly make changes to MeL or MeLCat or find additional funding to support the programs. 

LSTA funds also underwrite early literacy programs, continuing education programs such as Small and Rural Libraries Conference, summer reading programs and E-rate training and support. Services provided by the Library of Michigan are funded by LSTA at the following rate:

  • Michigan eLibrary (MeL) - 70% of costs are LSTA
  • Technology programs - 100% of costs are LSTA
  • Early literacy programs - 82% of costs are LSTA
  • Continuing education - 92% of costs are LSTA 

To remain eligible for LSTA funding the State of Michigan must both match the federal funds and maintain a level of effort through state or private funds. In Michigan, that funding is primarily State Aid to Public Libraries. 

For an overview of LSTA:  

http://www.michigan.gov/libraryofmichigan/0,2351,7-160-18668_77699---,00.html

For a fact sheet about LSTA:

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/libraryofmichigan/LM_2017_LSTA_fact_sheet_FFY_15_555191_7.pdf

It is important that everyone take action, everything you need is at ALA's Legislative Action Center, and contact their congressional delegation today.

Following is ALA President Julie Todaro's message to ALA members:

Dear ALA member,

The time is NOW! If you're a librarian, a library worker, anyone who cares about libraries, does business with a library, or if you depend on your library for accurate information, then your Congressperson needs to hear from you - and at least five more people that you mobilize - TODAY! At least $210 million in federal library funding is on the budget-cutter's chopping block. Our champions in Congress need your help to save it and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the agency that distributes most of those funds to every state in the country.  Everything you need is at ALA Legislative Action Center now.

As detailed in the ALA Washington Office blog, the President of the United States effectively proposed eliminating all federal library funding and closing IMLS - the small, respected agency that administers $183 million of those funds through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). He also asked Congress to wipe out $27 million for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), which school libraries use to buy books and other materials for the nation's poorest children. But our library champions in Congress have mobilized to fight back and they need your help to succeed.

Today, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ3) wrote to every Member of the House of Representatives asking them to support LSTA, and Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX30), Don Young (R-AK), and Jim McGovern (D-MA2) circulated a similar letter asking support for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). Both letters urge their House colleagues to sign letters to the Appropriations Committee supporting library funding. The first so-called "Dear Appropriator" letter asks the Committee to fully fund LSTA in FY 2018 and the second does the same for IAL. 

We know from many past funding fights that these Representatives' requests of their colleagues simply will not be enough. Members of the House need to hear from their constituents before the April 3rd deadline. Please call your Representative and ask them to sign both the LSTA and the IAL "Dear Appropriator" letters our champions have circulated, otherwise the powerful Appropriations Committees will not make LSTA and IAL a priority, dramatically increasing the odds that they will be cut or eliminated next year. 

ALA's Legislative Action Center has everything you - and five of your friends, patrons, relatives, employees and customers need to identify your Member of Congress and to tell him or her by email, tweet or phone to sign the LSTA and IAL "Dear Appropriator" letters to protect those critical programs in the FY 2018 federal budget.

We MUST save federal library funding and IMLS! If not you and your fellow library lovers who? If not right now, when? Please, act right now!  

To read my full statement about the President's draconian budget proposals, please visit ALA's website.

Julie Todaro
ALA President 

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