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Library Issues & Taking Action
Get the Facts: Texas and the IMLS
Federally funded library programs benefit all Texans. Texas receives nearly $11 million from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds. Over 90% of these funds pay for library services benefiting local communities across our state.
TexShare/TexQuest resources, interlibrary loan, grants to local libraries, summer reading programs, Edge technology assistance, and continuing education for library staff are all supported by these federal funds.
Watch this video to learn more about how federal funds are used across the state.
Federal Library Funding is on the Budget-Cutter's Chopping Block
Take Action Today!
At least $210 million in federal library funding is at risk and we need your help to save it and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). President Trump effectively proposed eliminating all federal library funding and closing the IMLS, which administers $183 million of those funds through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). He also eliminated $27 million for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), administered by the Department of Education.
Now as the appropriations process gets underway, his fellow budget-cutters in Congress are considering whether to follow his lead. The library community is mobilizing to fight these drastic, unwarranted cuts and we need you!
Our first step is to get as many members of Congress as possible to sign on to the so-called "Dear Appropriator" letters which ask for support for IAL and LSTA funding. The more Representatives that sign on to these letters to the powerful Appropriations committee, the more likely the committee will make LSTA and IAL a priority. These letters must be submitted by April 3.
Members of the House need to hear from their constituents before the April 3rd deadline.
Please call your Representatives and ask them to sign both the LSTA and IAL "Dear Appropriator" letters that have been circulated by Rep. Raul Grijalva (LSTA); and Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Don Young, and Jim McGovern (IAL).
Share your stories of the positive impact the these critical funds have in your library and community. Visit the ALA Legislative Action Center to find who represents you, additional background information and more.
Whether you call, email, tweet or all of the above (which would be great), the message to the friendly office staff of your Representative is simple:
“Hello, I’m a constituent. Please ask Representative ________ to sign both the FY 2018 LSTA and IAL ‘Dear Appropriator’ letters circulating for signature before April 3.”
This is just the beginning of the long appropriations process. Your support and action at each step along the way will be essential to protecting these critical library programs. Thank you!
President Trump's Budget Proposal Eliminates the Institute for Library & Museum Services
To fund increased military spending and tax cuts, President Trump’s America First: A Budget to Make America Great Again eliminates funding for libraries and museums, as well as arts, humanities and cultural programs. Collectively, these programs account for less than 0.5% of the national budget.
The Institute for Museum and Library Services’ (IMLS) grants and programs provide critical support to libraries and museums across the country. Texas libraries leverage every dollar of the federal funds they receive to offer innovative programs and services to millions of Texans every year. In fact, a recent Texas State Library and Archives Commission study found that for every $1 invested in Texas libraries, communities benefit from an impressive return on investment of $4.64.
Libraries are centers for technology, job counseling, retraining, entrepreneurship, education, teaching and learning, services to veterans, and so much more.
The Texas Library Association’s almost 7,000 members, and the thousands of library supporters throughout the state, will actively oppose this proposal which, if enacted, would have a significant, immediate, negative impact on millions of Texans. Libraries are so much more than book depositories, they are essential to what makes Texas, and America great.
IMLS information on Texas funding can be found here.
Here are some steps you can take right now:
- Call your Members of Congress – ask them to publicly oppose wiping out IMLS, and ask them to commit to fighting for federal library funding. (You can find talking points and an email template on ALA's the Action Center.)
- Share your library’s IMLS story using the #SaveIMLS tag – tell us how IMLS funding supports your local community. If you aren’t sure which IMLS grants your library as received, you can check the searchable database available on the IMLS website.
- Sign up to receive ALA action alerts – they will let you know when and how to take action, and send you talking points and background information.
- Register to participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 1-2, either in Washington, D.C., or online.
Timing is key to the Federal budget/appropriations process. More information – along with talking points and scripts – will be forthcoming from the ALA Washington Office and TLA.
SB 902 Would Eliminate Most Criteria for Public Library Accreditation
Senator Brian Birdwell (SD 22) introduced SB 902 relating to a prohibition on the adoption of certain library standards by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). TLA strongly opposes this bill which would diminish the quality of library services throughout the state, and dilute and devalue legitimate public library service by eliminating common baselines for professionalism, services and resources.
The bill prohibits TSLAC from requiring libraries to meet minimum accreditation standards related to:
- Local operating expenditures
- Collections based on publication dates
- Hours of operation
- The number or classification of library employees
To participate in state programs incuding TexShare and interlibrary loan, and to be eligible for competitive grants, public libraries must meet minimum accreditation standards. These accreditation standards ensure the efficient and accountable use of state and federal resources, and set basic standards to assure statewide equity in the provision of library services. The minimum standards, which were developed in collaboration with library stakeholders and local governments from across the state, set reasonable, reachable, and essential expectations for basic library services while being respectful of local economic challenges. 93% of Texas' public libraries meet the minimum standards.
The bill was referred to the Senate Business and Commerce committee. TLA members are continuing to reach out to their Senators to express their oppostion, and TLA has met with committee staff to share our concerns.
Take Action- SB 902
Contact your senator and representative and share your concerns about the impact of this bill on Texas' public library services. Discuss the bill with your staff, city/county officials, boards, and other stakeholder groups, asking them to oppose the bill and to contact their senator and representative.
If you need assistance or information on TLA’s Legislative Platform or advocating for library issues, please contact:
Created on Mar 15, 2010 | Last updated March 24, 2017