Day 4! Day 4 of National Library Week is Take Action for Libraries Day! Today you are challenged to write postcards to your elected officials urging them to support library funding, net neutrality, email privacy, or any other important issues concerning access to information and intellectual freedom. The only postcards I had on hand were literary (cause what else?), so I wrote a few to my representatives urging them to take action for libraries on appropriately literary postcards.
You may have heard that Trump’s proposed federal budget cuts funding entirely from the IMLS – the Institute of Museum and Library Services – among other things like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, so needless to say, we have a lot to take action for. While federal funding is not a major source of funding for most public libraries, for smaller libraries, it can make a huge difference. The IMLS gives out tons of grants each year that make library programs possible – programs that can have a great community impact. Plus, what kind of message does it send about our values that we cut things like the IMLS from our budget?? I don’t think I need to say more to my particular audience about why this issue is important. If you want to learn a bit more about the IMLS and what the money is typically used for and how its distributed, this overview posted on the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) blog is great.
I emailed one of my Senators last week about the IMLS and got a reply today. Yes, I might be just one voice in the cacophony, and yes his response was a form letter, but it still felt good to be assured that my little voice was acknowledged and that my Senator knows how important this is. His workers will keep stats on how many people contact him about what issues, and those add up. Here’s a snippet from his response:
Investing in libraries and museums is not only necessary for the education of our nation, but it is also a way to stimulate economic development, which is sorely needed during these tough times. Museums spur tourism and foster job creation. Tourists spend approximately $21 billion a year in museum communities and museums employ an estimated 400,000 Americans. Unfortunately, these valuable resources are being forced to cut back on hours, educational programming, community services, and jobs because of funding shortfalls. We should protect museums and all that they offer to our communities.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to support funding for museums and libraries. I will keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate considers legislation related to the federal budget and spending.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please feel free to keep in touch.
Funding for the IMLS is not the only library-related issue you can act for, either. I used my own postcards today, but you can just as easily download and use the ALA postcards, which address issues of net neutrality, email privacy, and general library funding.
And if you need help figuring our who your representatives are and how to contact them, just check out usa.gov for that information!
I can’t believe National Library Week is almost over! It’s been a great time, ya’ll. Thanks for reading.