Library Funding

Summary of Positions

  • ALA works to preserve and increase all current levels of federal funding for libraries across the country.
  • ALA works to preserve and enhance the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which distributes funds through state grants and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) per a national formula with a state match.
  • ALA works to preserve and enhance the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) grant program from the U.S. Department of Education, which supports school libraries and non-profit literacy organizations working to improve reading skills at the most critical early years of a child's development.
  • ALA communicates to Congress about the importance of funding federal libraries, like the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Libraries, the National Agricultural Library, and the National Library of Medicine.

The Issue

The majority of federal library funds are distributed through the Institute of Museum and Library Services to each state through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) grant program from the U.S. Department of Education supports school libraries working to foster reading skills at the most critical early years of a child's development. LSTA and IAL provide critical assistance, giving libraries across the country the financial support they need to serve their communities.

With $189.3 million in LSTA funds, more than 120,000 public, academic, government, and special libraries are able to advance entrepreneurship, employment, and education in communities across the country. LSTA prepares students for today’s job market by providing coding and STEM activities. LSTA funds business development assistance programs for entrepreneurs, provided by skilled business and technology outreach librarians.

To cut funding for libraries means to undercut opportunities provided to all Americans. ALA advocates energetically to urge Congress to continue to make full funding for our nation’s libraries a priority.


Recent Advocacy & Tools

  • FY 2024 funding chart detailing recent history of appropriations for federal library programs (March 29, 2024)
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  • Letter to Congressional leadership urging a close to the FY22 appropriations process (February 1, 2022)
  • Comments to the Federal Highway Administration on Development of Guidance for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Deployment (January 18, 2022)
  • Coalition letter to Appropriations Committees urging an increase in CDBG Block funding (August 2, 2021)
  • Coalition Letter calling for $350 billion in state and local funding in a Covid relief package (February 12, 2021)
  • Facts about Earmarks: ALA Resource for libraries (May 25, 2021)
  • AFSCME Coalition Letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calling for $1 trillion in aid to state, local, and tribal governments (January 13, 2021)
  • Coalition Letter to Biden Transition Team regarding CDBG Block funding (December 1, 2020)
  • Coalition Letter to Congressional Appropriations leadership regarding CDBG Block Funding (November 25, 2020)
  • Correspondence Archive

Past Appropriator Letters

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Staff Contact Information

Kevin Maher
Deputy Director, Advocacy and Public Policy