For immediate release | June 6, 2024

American Library Association welcomes FCC cybersecurity funding pilot for libraries, calls for long-term funding


WASHINGTON – The American Library Association (ALA) welcomes today’s vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch a pilot program for public libraries and schools to purchase advanced cybersecurity tools. Set to launch later this year, the pilot program will provide $200 million in funding to aid libraries and schools in securing their digital infrastructure.

“The FCC’s decision today to create a cybersecurity pilot is an important step forward for our nation’s libraries and library workers, too many of whom face escalating costs to secure their institution’s systems and data,” said ALA President Emily Drabinski. “We remain steadfast in our call for a long-term funding mechanism that will ensure libraries can continue to offer the access and information their communities rely on.”

ALA has continuously advocated for the creation of a broader plan to fund and support cybersecurity for America’s libraries through the E-rate program. In comments filed with the FCC, ALA urged the Commission to create a long-term funding plan to support cybersecurity tools. In a joint letter filed with coalition partners, ALA called for several key changes to the pilot’s design to reduce barriers to access for libraries and schools and clarify funding amounts. In particular, funding amounts for large library systems would not adequately cover the costs of cybersecurity for the nation’s largest library systems.

Faced with rising costs for network security and increased rates of cybersecurity threats, libraries nationwide require new and sustained support to adequately safeguard their systems. High-profile incidents of security breaches including ransomware attacks at numerous libraries across the country have highlighted the need for additional support for library network security.

As program decisions are made in the coming months, ALA will continue to solicit input from local libraries and advocate for changes to the cybersecurity pilot so that it protects valuable information of public libraries across the nation and the millions of patrons they serve. ALA staff will also provide an FAQ in coming days for prospective library applicants to better assist members and library professionals seeking funding support.



Ian Ware

Communications Manager

American Library Association

Public Policy & Advocacy