Today American Library Association (ALA) President Julie B. Todaro released the following statement in support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“For more than 50 years, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) have provided the opportunity for Americans everywhere to learn about, celebrate and participate in our rich and diverse artistic cultural heritage. Just as libraries make as much information as possible accessible to everyone in our communities, the NEH and NEA cultivate and curate our nation’s common cultural record and support world-renowned scholarship.
“Since 1992 ALA’s Public Programs Office (PPO) has administered dozens of NEH grants, enabling libraries to initiate conversation and healthy debate and enabling them to fulfill their mission as strong, inclusive community centers. In FY16 alone, PPO awarded more than $1 million in NEH funds to more than 250 institutions in 47 states and the District of Columbia. “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History” brought film screenings, scholarly discussions, festivals, and other humanities programming about Latino history and culture to communities across the country; the Great Stories Club, a book club program for at-risk youth, trained librarians to lead thought-provoking discussions with underserved, often incarcerated, teens and instill in them a love of reading. Together, these two programs reached more than 450,000 people.
“ALA affirms our full support for our nation’s endowments. The library community has been there to defend the NEH and NEA numerous times in recent history, and ALA will be among the first to stand up for them if anything threatens our shared mission to serve every person in every corner of our country.”