I know, it’s been two months since you’ve heard from me. I’ll explain all that next week – right now, there are bigger problems at hand.
As our new administration continues trying to de-fund entities like the National Endowment for the Arts, NPR, PBS, and healthcare, another target is now in their sights – libraries.
Two of this year’s “Dear Appropriator” letters began circulating in the Senate, one seeking $186.6 million for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the other $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Libraries (IAL) program for FY 2018. When a majority of Senators sign these letters, it sends a clear message to the Senate Appropriations Committee to reject requests to eliminate IMLS, and to continue funding for LSTA and IAL at least at current levels.
The deadline for senators to support libraries is May 19. As of this afternoon, only 14 Senators have signed for IAL and just 22 have backed LSTA, both WAY under last year’s totals. That means that we need all library supporters to call their Senators TODAY and ask them to support federal funding for libraries.
Let me rephrase that, because it sounds vaguely important.
YOU HAVE 9 DAYS TO CALL YOUR SENATORS AND TELL THEM TO SUPPORT LIBRARIES, OR WE WILL LOSE $213 MILLION DOLLARS IN FUNDING.
Not sure if your Senators have signed? Check The American Library Association’s handy database! The ALA’s Legislative Action Center gives you everything you need to identify your Senators and to tell him/her to sign the letters and save libraries.
Not sure what to say? Repeat after ALA:
“please support federal library funding by signing both the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Dear Appropriator letters being circulated by Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island.”
If you’ve ever used a library, supported a library, or had a library impact your life in any way, I implore you to call your representatives regarding this. I’ve already started the the phone war on Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. Since nobody picked up during the 5 times I called today and all their voicemail boxes being full, I took to Twitter to get their attention.
If we can crash the FCC to protect net neutrality, we can let senators know that libraries aren’t to be messed with. We can do this, people!
Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian