CHICAGO — The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and others from the nondefense discretionary (NDD) community have delivered a letter to Congress urging leaders to avert sequestration by adopting a “balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.” Joining AASL in this effort are nearly 3,000 national, state and local organizations from all 50 states representing the education, public safety and health communities. Despite the diverse interests, the organizations share a common purpose of protecting the core government functions that make up NDD spending from further cuts.
NDD programs are core functions the government provides for the benefit of all Americans, including medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; natural and cultural resources; housing and social services; and international relations. These programs support economic growth, strengthen safety and security and enrich the lives of every American in every state and community across the nation. The sequester will mean an automatic 8.4 percent cut to program funding levels for most NDD programs. These cuts will be across-the-board, with no departmental or agency control on how the sequester impacts individual programs. Funding for the Department of Education would be cut by more than $4 billion.
“NDD programs are not the reason for the nation’s growing debt, and yet they are the first place lawmakers look for cuts,” said Susan Ballard, AASL president. “Our goal is to protect education from further cuts by educating policymakers about NDD and its small and shrinking share of the economy. It is our hope that Congress will avoid sequestration by adopting a balanced approach to deficit reduction that recognizes NDD.”
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.