Federal Funding

What is federal funding?

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.

Why this issue matters to libraries    

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: