Legislative Alert: Advocate for More Library Funding (for ALL Libraries) in the Federal FY 11 Budget

There are two important legislative developments on the national scene that all librarians should be monitoring.  First, the president’s proposed budget does not provide additional funding for school libraries and it all but eliminates the Improving Literacy for School Libraries grant program.   You can read more in this School Library Journal article and AASL blog post from Monday.  A sample letter template can be accessed through this link that can be the skeleton of a letter to your representatives.

Secondly, school libraries are not the only front in this budget battle.  Our colleagues in our public libraries need our voices of support as well as they are fighting to be included in the $18 million Jobs Bill in light of increased demand and usage.  I am sharing with you the talking points from the Georgia Library Association list-serv:

URGENT MESSAGE TO LIBRARY ADVOCATES:

Please call both of your U.S. Senators to ask each of them to request
that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Richard Durbin
(D-IL), and Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND),  include the hiring and
retaining of librarians in the $18 billion *Jobs Bill* as well.

BACKGROUND FOR *JOBS FOR MAIN STREET ACT*

1. Libraries play a key role in getting America back to work again.
Nationwide, the library is the only source of no-fee Internet access for
71 percent of Americans. With more and more job applications only being
accepted online, the public library is becoming the center of most
American*s job searches.

2. State Library Agencies reported in November 2009 that 77 percent of
states cut funds that support local public libraries, which has meant
layoffs, staff furloughs, and forced retirements. This has caused a 75
percent cut in services to the public including canceled statewide
databases used for job searching, homework help, and cuts in 24/7
reference, which are used by small businesses and students.

3.  Our proposal to be a part of the $20.5 billion program to create
jobs that provide public services would not add any additional funding,
but would give libraries a specific amount to draw on.

4. The money would be used for library jobs that are focused on
assisting patrons with getting back to work * thereby having the
impact of assisting literally millions of Americans find employment.
None of these funds would be used for facilities or equipment.

5. These funds would be distributed in a clear, concise, affirmative
manner. Funds would be distributed to states using a formula through
IMLS based 50 percent on population, and 50 percent on relative
unemployment (similar to the Department of Labor*s Dislocated Worker
Program).

6. The Chief State Library Officer in each state would be responsible
for distributing funds to local public libraries based on their local
needs.

7. A minimum amount of funding per library could offer one library
staff job per building based upon need and a maximum of five full-time
staff.

9. Funds would be limited to hiring back staff released due to budget
cuts, recruiting new staff and/or expanding staff services around job
searching and employment skills training.

Call the U.S. Capital switchboard ASAP at 202.224.3121.  For email
addresses and other contact information go to:
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

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About The Unquiet Librarian

I'm a librarian and writing teacher who loves learning, literacy, stories, learning, dogs, poetry, fabulous shoes, and good lip gloss; I'm also a 2011 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.

Posted on February 2, 2010, in legislation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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