ALA applauds library funding increase in President's 2007 budget

Contact: Bernadette Murphy

ALA Washington Office

(202) 628-8410

For Immediate Release

February 6, 2006

ALA applauds library funding increase in President’s 2007 budget

(Washington, DC)
The American Library Association (ALA) applauds the funding increases for libraries proposed in President Bush’s FY2007 budget and thanks the Administration for its consistent support of increased library funding.

In an extremely tight fiscal environment, the President's commitment to increase federal funding for libraries demonstrates his recognition of the many ways libraries serve communities.

The President's Budget requests $262,240,000 for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), an increase of $15,096,000 or 6.1 percent over FY 2006. For the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the budget includes $220,855,000, an increase of $10,258,000 over FY 2006. The LSTA number includes an increase in the Grants to States program, bringing funding for that program to $171,500,000. The ALA has actively supported an increase in Grants to States funding as this funding level will allow full implementation of a 2003 law to provide a more equitable distribution of state formula grants.

The budget also includes a request for $30,000,000 to revitalize the consistently under-funded Washington, D.C. public library system. The ALA expressed gratitude for the Administration’s recognition of the many ways library services help strengthen America’s cities and towns.

“This federal commitment will help ensure that library patrons of all ages have access to quality library and information services,” said Leslie Burger, President-Elect of the American Library Association. She continued, “Federal support is critical now, as libraries struggle to do more with less. These funds will help libraries serve their communities by offering after-school homework help, adult literacy and ESL programs, expanding patron access to the world wide web and new information technologies, securing additional informational resources, and providing more library materials and programs.”

The Budget also includes a proposal to move the portion of the Library Statistics Program that surveys public and state libraries from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the Department of Education to IMLS by 2008. By moving those parts of the program that collect and analyze data about America's public and state libraries to IMLS, the government can more easily apply these statistics and adapt policy to changing trends in library services and use. The ALA applauds the Office of Management and Budget for this proposal and agrees it will strengthen federal library policy efforts and better meet Americans’ needs.

Even though the President cut his request for Reading First funding, the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program, within Reading First, was level-funded.

“Given the many competing funding interests this year, libraries are very pleased to see an increase in funding,” added Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director of the ALA Washington Office.
She continued, “Funding for the Improving Literacy through School Libraries program will help school libraries continue provide students with up-to-date technology and top-quality, age-appropriate reading materials. These resources are essential in order to ensure that America has a strong 21
st-Century workforce.”

The Budget request includes $25,000,000 for The First Lady’s Twenty-First Century Librarian Program, a $1.24 million increase over 2006. The funding increase demonstrates a consistent commitment by the President and the First Lady to ensure that the nation has another generation of trained librarians to serve their communities.

The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is the only federal program exclusively created for libraries, and is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The law's definition of a library includes institutions of all types and sizes, such as public, academic, research, school, state, and even digital libraries. The law includes grants for Native American and Native Hawaiian library services, as well as National Leadership grants aimed at education and training, research and demonstration projects, the preservation of library materials, and model projects between libraries and museums.

The Improving Literacy Through School Library program is part of the No Child Left Behind Act and designed to improve student literacy skills and academic achievement by providing schools with up-to date library materials and to ensure that school library media centers are staffed by well-trained and state certified school media specialists.