Library funding increases 15 percent in President Bush's FY2004 budget

Contact: Larra Clark


For Immediate Release

February 21, 2003

Library funding increases 15 percent in President Bush's FY2004 budget

The American Library Association (ALA) welcomed news of increased library funding slated for President George Bush's FY2004 budget. In a personal letter of greeting to the ALA and its members attending the Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, First Lady Laura Bush cited a budget request that is 15 percent greater than the 2003 request. The President's budget request was submitted to Congress recently.

"Along with our homes and schools, libraries and museums provide the strongest foundation for learning in our communities," Mrs. Bush said. "Museum directors and librarians educate and information the public, and by doing so, strengthen our great democracy. I am proud of the president's commitment to America's public libraries and librarians and of the commitment of each of you to a vital profession."

The President's budget proposal includes a significant increase in support for programs and grants in each state. Overall, the FY 2004 budget is $242 million for IMLS, a 24 percent increase over the 2002 budget. The FY 2004 budget, which requests $207,590,000 for library programs, breaks down this way: state programs, $166,419,000; recruitment and education, $20,000,000; national leadership grants, $11,650,000; administration, $6,300,000; and Native American library services, $3,225,000.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) administer federal funding for the 122,000 libraries and 15,000 museums in the United States.

"The increase in LSTA proposed by the President would support critical programs in every state, which are designed to extend library service to the underserved and make technology more accessible to all. The proposed increase is particularly important in light of the current library funding crisis, which is already affecting library service in so many communities," says Keith Michael Fiels, ALA's Executive Director. "The library community is also encouraged by the doubling of proposed support for the recruitment and training of librarians, which is both a critical national need and an ALA priority."

Funding for recruitment doubled in the 2004 budget. "In preparing to make the first grants for this (recruitment) initiative, we heard compelling stories about the need for librarians and a wealth of ideas for creative solutions," said IMLS Director Robert Martin.

The ALA has gathered key facts and figures on the impending shortage of librarians. This information is available in the
Recruitment Presskit and