For immediate release | September 23, 2016

American Library Association lauds bipartisan Senate bill to renew support for libraries nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Acknowledging and highlighting the critical role of libraries across the nation, the bipartisan Museum and Library Services Act of 2016 (S. 3391) was introduced today by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

"Libraries bring promise and opportunity to millions of people in every corner of the country every day," said Julie Todaro, president of the American Library Association (ALA), "so we especially appreciate the enormous effort by the sponsors of the new Museum and Library Services Act to build a bipartisan bill to reauthorize federal library funding that can and should be approved before the current Congress adjourns later this year."

Todaro added, "The $230 million authorized by this essential bill will continue to be distributed to virtually every state in the nation by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to be used, in states’ discretion, to offer library patrons everything from employment services and small business development assistance to free Wi-Fi to STEM programming and access to other costly resources such as academic journals."

"It’s a testament to the public’s love of and reliance on libraries that the bill’s dedicated sponsors were able to craft the Museum and Library Services Act of 2016 and that, even as an election looms, it may well pass the Senate promptly and without opposition," she concluded.

After enormous input from library professionals around the country, a coalition of library groups led by ALA’s Washington Office worked closely with the bill’s lead cosponsors to include their recommendations in the newly introduced legislation. In an effort to update the law to help libraries improve their technology, enhance collaboration and better serve the public and communities, the reauthorization bill will renew the current $230 million commitment to programs administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Specifically, S. 3391 will:

  • Provide technical support and assistance to help libraries collect and analyze data.
  • Enhance IMLS’s collaborative efforts with an expanded number of federal agencies in order to fully leverage the role of libraries and museums in supporting and meeting the needs of Americans.
  • Add focuses for the awarding of National Leadership grant funds on activities that serve a range of library types and geographically diverse areas; include evaluation, analysis, and dissemination components; and actively involve, have direct impact on, or provide future application in libraries.
  • Provide greater emphasis on recruiting, training and professional development of the next generation of library and information science professionals from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. And it encourages partnerships with other agencies, professional networks, and community-based organizations to expand and enhance access to museum services.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

Contact:

Shawnda Hines

Press Officer

American Library Association

Washington Office

shines@alawash.org

202-628-8410