A bill that is coming up for a vote this week in the House of Representatives calls for the elimination of all Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funding, including Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding, for the remainder of FY2011.
Reaction to the introduction of Amendment 35 to the Continuing Resolution was swift. “To eliminate this vital federal agency would be a disservice to those families who have come to depend on their libraries,” declared Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association’s Washington Office. “LSTA funding provides needed support to establish statewide and regional services to help local libraries save money and meet the changing demands and needs of their communities.”
The ALA Washington Office has posted a link to its Capwiz email interface to facilitate library advocates contacting their congressional representatives to urge them to oppose Amendment 35 to the Continuing Resolution because:
- Libraries are essential to every community, and federal funding is critical for ensuring that library resources and services remain available to their constituents.
- LSTA supports all kinds of libraries including school, academic, and public libraries.
- Public libraries are the primary source of no-fee access to the internet and are active in assisting the public with online job searches, e-government services, and lifelong learning.
Sheketoff emphasized that loss of the funding would prevent libraries from continuing to “play an essential role in today’s communities, providing access to technology and the information people need to search for work and find jobs, apply for e-government services, and get homework help,” concluding that “the American public is poorly served if federal funding and library support are eliminated.”
Amendment 35 was submitted for House consideration by Rep. Scott Garrett (R–N.J.).