- What is Federal Funding?
- Why this issue matters to libraries
- Recent Legislative Background
- Other Information
- Funding on District Dispatch
Associate Director, Office of Government Relations
Quite simply, funding is money. Federal funding is the money for libraries that comes from the U.S. Government. The majority of federal library program funds are distributed through the Institute of Museum and Library Services to each state. The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is part of the annual Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill.
In addition to lobbying for LSTA funds, the ALA's Washington Office specifically communicates to Congress about the importance of funding federal libraries - like the Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, the National Library of Medicine, etc. - as well as programs in the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. We also lobby for increases for adult education and literacy. In addition, we look for opportunities for libraries of all kinds to become involved in education programs like those for early childhood education.
For information on the federal funding process works, visit our Primer on the Budget Resolution and the Legislative Process.
Libraries of all kinds need money. The amount of funding that a library receives directly influences the quality of its services. While the majority of funding for libraries comes from state and local sources, federal funding provides critical assistance, giving libraries across the country the financial support they need to serve their communities.
For the past several years, the federal budget has been hard on domestic programs. Libraries have seen cuts to the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), and many other programs that benefit libraries have been severely cut or in some cases terminated. We follow these other programs as well, because libraries are just one part of a much bigger picture that includes education, the humanities, the arts, and many other important social functions.
What follows are several programs that ALA supports that have been negatively affected by the federal budget. ALA feel that these programs are important enough for our members to know more about and take an active interest in saving:
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- Title V part A
- Enhancing Education Through Technology State Grants
On January 17, 2014, President Obama approved a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that will fund the federal government for FY 2014 (until September 30, 2014). This legislation partially restores funding to the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) that were dramatically cut in FY 2013 under sequestration.
The total amount appropriated for LSTA increased from $175,044,000 in FY 2013, to $180,909,000 for FY 2014. The grants to states programs increased from $150 million to $154,848,000; National Leadership grants increased from $11,377,000 to $12,200,000; Laura Bush 21st-century Librarian grants remained at $10 million and the Native American and Hawaiian Library Services increased from $3,667,000 to $3,861,000.
In the Department of Education, Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), a completive grant which half of the funds must go to low income school libraries, was appropriated at $25 million in FY 2014. This is a -$2.4 million cut from FY 2013.
In April, 2013 two "Dear Colleague" letters were sent to the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. One of these letters (pdf), that was sponsored by Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rush Holt (D-NJ) included 56 other signatures from Members of Congress asked for the committee to fund LSTA at $184.7 million in FY' 2014. Likewise, another letter (pdf) was sent to the Appropriations Committee with 103 signatures and sponsored by Reps. James McGovern (D-MA), Don Young (R-AK), Holt and Grijalva. This letter asked the committee to appropriate $28.6 million for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL).
Just like in the House, there were also two letters asking for library funding that were sent to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee with bi-partisan support. The first letter (pdf), sent by Sens Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) with 32 other signatures asked for $184.7 million for LSTA in FY 2014. The second letter (pdf) that was sent by Sens. Reed and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and 24 other members asked the committee for $28.6 million for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL).
To see if you Senator or Representative signed on to these letter please click here (pdf)
- Joel Packer's NLLD13 presentation, 'Caps, Cuts, Freezes and Sequesters' (pdf or pptx)
- Jeff Kratz's NLLD13 presentation, 'Library Federal Funding' (pdf or pptx)
- Library Facts and Figures (pdf)
- School Library Fact Sheet (pdf)
- Primer on the Budget Resolutions and the Legislative Process
- Improving Literacy Through School Libraries
- Federal Student Loan Forgiveness
- Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
- Congressional Budget Office
- Senate Budget Committee
- House Budget Committee
- Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education
- The Institute of Museum and Library Services