Call to Action - Urge Governor Whitmer to Dedicate CARES Act Funding to Libraries

April 15, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan has received $89.4 million in federal aid through the CARES Act that will help K-12 schools, colleges and universities and other educational organizations. MLA has contacted Governor Whitmer requesting that a portion of these funds be used for libraries.

The Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund under section 18002 of the CARES Act allows Governors to allocate funds to educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and any “education-related entity” deemed essential for carrying out emergency educational services. Note that “other education-related entity” includes libraries. 

Libraries will be critical in the months to come as we rebuild our economy and strengthen the workforce. Access to digital resources has become critically important to all Americans in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and libraries have stepped up to successfully deliver these resources to communities in need throughout Michigan. However, libraries, like other public and private institutions, are fulfilling community needs while anticipating lost revenue.

We urge you to contact Governor Whitmer and request that a portion of CARES Act funding is dedicated to libraries. By allocating CARES Act funding to support our libraries, they will be able to maintain the staffing and services necessary to scale up relief efforts already underway and, equally important, to foster community resilience as we emerge from this crisis.

A draft of our letter is posted below. Please feel free to use this letter as an example when drafting your note to the Governor.

To contact Governor Whitmer now, visit our Call to Action Webpage by clicking the button below.

Take Action

April 14, 2020

 

The Honorable Gretchen Whitmer
Governor of Michigan
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Dear Governor Whitmer,

Thank you for your leadership and continued work on COVID-19 relief efforts. As you implement the CARES Act, we ask that you keep in mind the importance of funding for school, academic, and public libraries and the vital connections and opportunities they provide to Americans across the country.

Access to digital resources has become critically important to all Americans in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and libraries have stepped up to successfully deliver these resources to communities in need throughout Michigan. However, libraries, like other public and private institutions, are fulfilling community needs while anticipating lost revenue.

While all of our library buildings are closed, libraries continue to serve at the forefront of digital equity by supporting home broadband access, loaning devices and offering technical support. Many libraries have hotspot lending programs for underserved families and students who do not have internet access at home. Libraries offer e-books, audiobooks, online learning, and tutoring sites for homework help. They stream storytimes, book discussions, and author visits to engage readers of all ages. They offer access to skill-building activities and resume development for those who have been recently unemployed, as well as to telehealth resources and trustworthy public health information.

School and academic librarians continue to be essential guides within our schools and institutions of higher education, leading everyday teaching and learning towards methods and outcomes that best prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century. They have helped their institutions pivot to remote learning with direct instruction, digitization and curation of instructional materials, professional development for colleagues, and coordination of online instructional tools.

The Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund under section 18002 of the CARES Act allows governors to allocate funds for emergency support to local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and any “education-related entity” within the state that the governor deems essential for carrying out emergency educational services as described in section 18003(d)(1) of the CARES Act or in the Higher Education Act; for the provision of child care, early childhood education, or social and emotional support; and for the protection of education-related jobs.

We urge you to note that “other education-related entity” includes libraries. By dedicating a portion of this funding to libraries, they will be able to maintain the staffing and services necessary to scale up relief efforts already underway and, equally important, to foster community resilience as we emerge from this crisis.

On behalf of the Michigan Library Association and our 1700 members across Michigan, thank you for your commitment to libraries and for your consideration of our request as you begin implementation of the CARES Act.

Sincerely,

Debbie Signatiure

Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director

 


 


Uniting the Michigan Library Community

MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.


Friends of Michigan Libraries logo