The time is now...
ALA is leading the charge for libraries in Washington!If you have visited this page in the last few weeks, you know the President has proposed wiping out all library funding – and the agency, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), that administers much of it – in his initial FY18 budget proposal. You also know thousands of librarians, library supporters, users, vendors and citizens in every Congressional district in the country used the ALA Legislative Action Center and many other channels to insist that their Representative in the House sign two "Dear Appropriator" letters to the Appropriations Committee asking them to preserve funding this year for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.
Well, you hit it out of the park at our first "at-bat" of the FY18 appropriations lobbying season. One-third of the entire House of Representatives (from both parties) signed each of those Dear Appropriator letters and nearly 170 Members signed at least one — an 18% increase in support for IAL and a record-shattering 64% increase for LSTA. (Visit this House tracker to see whether your Representative in the House signed.)
Now we absolutely have to keep the rally you started going (and going!) throughout this calendar year. Like baseball, it's one at-bat and one inning at a time. If we are lucky we will even get a welcome seventh inning stretch this summer.
Next up: Senate Dear Appropriator letters for LSTA and IAL. Check this Senate tracker to see if your Senator signed last year and stay tuned for updates on who is signing this year.
Join the fight
The fight to save IMLS and critical federal funding for programs like LSTA and IAL has only just begun. Congress’ appropriations process will be continuing on many fronts throughout 2017 so the ALA’s Office of Government Relations will be issuing calls at every key opportunity for you to tell your Member of Congress and both U.S. Senators you want them to support full library funding. Don’t miss a single call to action and the chance to help!
And be sure stay tuned on May 1 and 2 during National Library Legislative Day. Plan to watch our live advocacy webcast on Virtual Library Legislative Day on May 1 and then contact your members of Congress by phone and electronically on May 2 while hundreds of your colleagues will be on Capitol Hill delivering our message in person.
Help us tell Congress the best library story: yours.ALA, IMLS, state library agencies and many others inside and outside of government have lots of data about the impact of libraries. But nothing will move and motivate your local member of Congress and senators to support library funding like hearing your story about how federal library funding for LSTA, IAL or any other source has made a difference in your library, school and community.
Did they make your summer reading program possible? Did they fund your back-to-work, veterans’ benefits or computer coding for kids workshop? Did you use their funding to create a dedicated workspace for solo businesspeople, a science discovery, makerspace or learning lab? Does federal funding support your statewide database consortium that provides testing content for first responders? Do your databases help keep your undergraduate rural telemedicine program accredited?
Click below to tell us your story today and we will be sure to tell your members of Congress!
Want to do more?ALA offers a number of tools, and the Office of Government Relations is developing more, that will help you help us fight for federal library funding from now through the end of 2017. We’ll be adding to those resources throughout the year here, but many of them are conveniently collected now at Advocacy Resources for Chapters and you’ll find a wealth of other templates, toolkits and advocacy tips at the link just below.
Don't see what you need? Tell us here. Meantime, consider writing a brief letter to the editor of your local paper! It’s easy, effective and will have a real impact on your member of Congress. Here’s how.