Whoops, he did it again! The newly-released Presidential budget again proposes eliminating the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), an independent grantmaking agency that provides approximately $189.3 million funding for libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The proposal also cuts the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), a program administered by the Department of Education (yes, that’s Betsy Cruella DeVos’s stomping grounds) that helps school libraries buy books, materials, and training focused on serving students in underserved communities across America.
LSTA and IAL probably give the biggest economic and social bang for the buck in the entire federal budget. LSTA grant funds go to every state, every year, according to a population-based formula. Each state contributes matching funds and decides how best to use their grants. Over the past few years in California, LSTA has funded improving access to legal information in Eastern Alameda County; computer training for adults; bringing books to communities without libraries; special needs and inclusive library services; summer tutoring; and so much more. Without this funding for libraries, Americans across the country run the risk of losing access to valuable services, training and education that are only possible when they’re supported by the federal government.
Think about it. Under $200 million to educate and serve people of all ages, all over the country. Versus another $8.6 billion for the presidential budget’s obscene proposal for the border wall …
Fortunately, Congress has prevented this exact travesty in previous presidential budgets; library services are one of the few things with bipartisan support. But it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You need to make your voice heard!
What you can do:
Ask your Members of Congress to publicly oppose cuts to federal library funding and commit to fighting for libraries throughout the appropriations cycle.
- Print postcards to mail to your Members of Congress! We’ve designed a sheet with four postcards for you to send to your two Senators and your Representative. Give the extra to a friend! Print on stiff paper, with your document set to landscape orientation.
- Call or email your MoCs and say:
My name is _____, my zip code is ____, and I am a member of Indivisible East Bay. I am strongly opposed to cutting federal funding for libraries from the 2020 budget as the Administration wants to do. Federal library funding isn’t a big part of the budget but it funds important programs for everyone. These budget cuts would make libraries provide more services with less money, or cut services altogether. Our communities need our libraries and we need you to help save library funding through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Library Services and Technology Act, and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program.
- Sen. Kamala Harris (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553; 333 Bush Street, Suite 3225, San Francisco CA 94104
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841; 1 Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco CA 94104
- Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (email): (510) 620-1000 DC: (202) 225-2095; 440 Civic Center Plaza, 2nd Floor, Richmond, CA 94804
- Rep. Barbara Lee (email): (510) 763-0370 DC: (202) 225-2661; 1301 Clay Street #1000N, Oakland CA 94612
- Rep. Eric Swalwell (email): (510) 370-3322 DC: (202) 225-5065; 3615 Castro Valley Blvd., Castro Valley CA 94546