Final push for COVID relief: ALA issues broad call for library advocates
For Immediate Release
Assistant Director, Communications
Public Policy and Advocacy
ALA is urging library advocates to contact their U.S. representatives and senators with an ask to provide funding for libraries in a COVID relief package as House and Senate members work to pass an emergency assistance plan before adjourning for the year.
“This is likely to be the last relief bill before Congress for several months,” said Alan Inouye, ALA senior director of public policy and government relations. “ALA is urging Congress to include direct library broadband and stabilization funding in the relief package.”
House and Senate leadership are using the bipartisan “COVID Emergency Relief Framework” as a starting point for their negotiations. Introduced on December 1, the framework includes funding for expanding overall broadband access and education but provides nothing directly for America’s libraries.
Libraries have stepped up throughout the pandemic to provide critical internet access despite having to close or reduce services in response to local and state safety concerns. According to the advocacy alert, “With additional broadband funding, libraries could provide even more services to the public via internet hotspots, extending Wi-Fi signals or locating mobile hotspots throughout the community.” In addition to broadband funding, the alert calls for funding for libraries and library workers, many of whom were furloughed or laid off in 2020.
“Many more colleagues in our library community are at risk now – just when communities need them the most,” the alert continues. “Direct library broadband and stabilization funding will allow our libraries to reopen safely and connect our communities to vital resources during this time of crisis.”
Advocates can email their members of Congress using the template in ALA’s action center. The Public Policy and Advocacy office is also calling on advocates to reach out to their elected leaders on social media, including a sample:
(.@TagYourSenator/Rep), our community is relying on (@TagYourLibrary) for broadband and to reopen safely and fully staffed. Please keep #LibrariesStrong by including them in the COVID relief package.