For immediate release | March 14, 2022

Disheartened by mixed FY 2022 budget outcomes, ALA predicts hard fight in FY 2023 for federal funding for libraries

WASHINGTON—On March 11*, the president signed a reconciled budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, which began on October 1, 2021. The Library Services and Technology Act, the only source of federal funding dedicated for America’s libraries, received flat funding at $197.4 million. The Innovative Approaches to Literacy program, the only source of federal funding dedicated to school libraries, received a modest $1 million increase, raising the program to $29 million.

ALA President Patty Wong said, “Like many other educational and public service institutions, ALA is disheartened by the final FY 2022 funding levels, especially compared with the increases proposed in both chambers earlier in the appropriations process. With inflation rising above seven percent, level funding is not enough for libraries to maintain current programming and facilities, let alone meet the ever-increasing demand for library services.

“Even though the emergency of the pandemic may have subsided, the needs of people emerging out of it persist. Over the past two years libraries in every context—school, public, academic and others—have filled in gaps that suddenly came into focus, such as access to broadband, digital technology and specialized services. Now is not the time to pull back federal funding for libraries and the dedicated library workers who face, eye to eye, the most pressing needs of Americans from all walks of life.

“We hope to hear good news from President Biden when he releases his FY 2023 budget. Whatever the direction taken by the administration, library advocates must work to inform our lawmakers as well as we inform our patrons of the vital role libraries play in strengthening communities. This disappointment is a wake-up call for library advocates: we can’t rest on past success, and we will have to work even harder to make our case in this competitive political climate.

“ALA is glad to see modest gains for library-eligible educational programs along with increases for the Library of Congress and other institutions. We will continue to bring awareness of federal funding opportunities for libraries and leverage those gains to make the case for library resources in FY 2023.”

Federal library-eligible programs that received gains include: Innovative Approaches to Literacy; Title II (Supporting Effective Instruction) and Title IV A (Student Support and Academic Enrichment), Education Department; Library of Congress; Government Publishing Office; National Library of Medicine; NEA and NEH. ALA has updated a master chart of library-related federal programs, which details the appropriations history since FY 2017.

Additional items of interest for libraries include nearly $35 million in congressionally directed spending (earmarks) for 31 specific library projects nationally, mostly addressing renovation and construction needs. The bill includes directions for the Department of Labor to develop a plan to provide resources and strengthen partnerships between public libraries and workforce development services through one-stop programs. The agreement also calls for $2,000,000 to create an information literacy task forcetasked with developing guidance, instructional materials and national strategies on information literacy (details to be released at a later time).

* On March 11, President Biden signed a continuing resolution. He signed the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act on March 15.

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Shawnda Hines

Assistant Director, Communications

Public Policy and Advocacy