- 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 April 10, 2013, President Barack Obama sent his FY 2014 budget request to Congress, outlining his priorities for the upcoming fiscal year and starting the legislative work on drafting and passing a federal budget for next year. In the President’s budget request the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) be funded at $177 million, slightly above the FY’13 enacted level of $175 million but still well below the pre-sequestration level of $184.7 million..
The President’s request also neglects to include funding for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). This is a pot of money in the Department of Education that Congress first included in the FY 2012. IAL redirected money that has replaced the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program that not been funded since FY 2010.
Now that the President has released his budget request, Congress can begin drafting the budget for FY 2014. Because of the late start Congress is getting on this appropriations year, it is unlikely that they will have passed any of the 12 spending bills for FY’14 by the end of the fiscal year on September 30. Congress will most likely have to pass another short-term continuing resolution into FY’14.
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