Build America's Libraries Act
Introduced on January 28, 2021 in the Senate by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), along with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), as well as on March 3, 2021 in the House by Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI-9) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK), the Build America's Libraries Act would fund upgrades to the nation's library infrastructure to address challenges such as natural disasters, COVID-19, broadband capacity, environmental hazards, and accessibility barriers. This groundbreaking legislation would pave the way for new and improved library facilities in underserved communities across the country. Join us in the effort to support this bill and #BuildLibraries.
On March 31, 2021, President Biden released his infrastructure plan, and it fails to include funding for library facilities. Furthermore, the proposal would provide only half the level of grants for school facilities – including school libraries – that the House approved last year. While we’re concerned that libraries were omitted from President Biden’s plan, it’s only the first step of the legislative process. We’re glad that the Administration has brought focus to modernizing our infrastructure. But it’s crucial that the White House and Congress hear: libraries are part of our infrastructure, and the time to invest is now.
Urge President Biden and Congress to support library infrastructure.
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- ALA one-pager: Build America's Libraries Act
- Press release: ALA acclaims reintroduction of Build America's Libraries Act (January 29, 2021)
- Press release: ALA praises House introduction of Build America's Libraries Act (March 3, 2021)
- Sample Letter to the Editor: Support the Build America's Libraries Act
- Bill text: S. 127
- Bill text: H.R. 1581
What are the biggest challenges you face in your library facilities? What impact would this legislation have on your community? Share your story with ALA to help make the case for federal support for library construction and modernization. Your elected officials want to hear concrete examples of impact and need from their constituents - increase your impact by sharing your story.
Share on Social
Take a moment to tell your community how important it is that we pass this legislation and #BuildLibraries. Use our social media graphics (Facebook graphic / Twitter graphic) and sample posts to spread the word. Don't forget to follow @LibraryPolicy and #BuildLibraries on Twitter for more updates!
Bring Congress to Your Library
Invite your member of Congress to a virtual tour of your library - raise awareness and build a relationship to help cultivate a library champion. You can use our checklist for planning a virtual tour, and watch an example tour hosted by Clinton-Macomb Public Library's Larry Neal, featuring Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI-9).
Supporters of the Build America’s Libraries Act:
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- Afterschool Alliance
- Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute
- American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
- American Federation of Teachers
- American Indian Library Association
- American Institute of Architects
- American Library Association
- American Society of Civil Engineers
- American Society of Interior Designers
- Association for Rural & Small Libraries
- Association of Research Libraries
- Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums
- Chief Officers of State Library Agencies
- Council of State Archivists
- Education Market Association
- International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers
- International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
- International WELL Building Institute
- National Association of Counties
- National Coalition for History
- National Coalition for Literacy
- National Digital Inclusion Alliance
- National Humanities Alliance
- National League of Cities
- National Summer Learning Association
- North America's Building Trades Unions
- Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition
- Society of American Archivists
- Urban Libraries Council
- Eugene Register-Guard: Libraries are a community's cornerstone (April 15, 2021)
- The Colorado Sun: As Denver's libraries reopen, the need for federal help becomes more critical (April 15, 2021)
- Santa Cruz Sentinel: Mayor's Message | More new libraries on the way (April 10, 2021)
- Macomb Daily: Looking to strengthen communities on a budget? Invest in our libraries (April 8, 2021)
- Louisville Courier-Journal: Investing in libraries ensures a stronger Louisville for generations (April 7, 2021)
- Cal Matters: Time to invest in our libraries (April 7, 2021)
- Portland Press-Herald: Amid information explosion, libraries have become more relevant, not less (April 7, 2021)
- The Hill: From steel to fiber, libraries are American infrastructure (April 5, 2021)
- Glens Falls Post-Star: Libraries are essential and they need help (April 2, 2021)
- McAlester News-Capital: Editorial, Build America's Libraries Act could help McAlester (March 17, 2021)
- Up North Live: Federal proposal focused on building and renovating libraries (March 9, 2021)
- Providence Business News: Now is the time to rebuild our libraries (March 5, 2021)