ALA Hopeful for Bipartisan Support from 116th Congress, despite "Discouraging" White House 2020 Budget Proposal

For Immediate Release
Mon, 03/11/2019


Shawnda Hines

Asst. Director, Communications

ALA Washington Office

(202) 628-8410

ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo issued the following statement in response to the White House’s fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget proposal:

"As discouraging as it is that the administration has again proposed eliminating the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the bipartisan support in Congress over the past two years gives us reason to hope. Elected decision-makers, including appropriators in both the House and Senate, agree that funding IMLS programs such as the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is a sound investment and that to cut funding for libraries is to undercut opportunity for their constituents.

"America’s 120,000 libraries are part of the fabric of thriving communities, and across the country, they are stretching capacity to accommodate a surge in demand for resources that are more relevant than ever. Thanks to its Grants to States program, IMLS funding supports evidence-based services that benefit everyone in our communities, including:

  • Youth in Rhode Island who are preparing for today's competitive job market through programming that connects teens to workforce development opportunities.
  • Students in rural North Dakota who are participating in coding classes taught by trained school and public librarians.
  • Entrepreneurs in New Mexico who receive help to launch and market their businesses.
  • Veterans in California who need use libraries to connect to state and federal education, employment, housing, health, disability and other benefits they deserve.
  • Adults in Kansas who take GED courses and use otherwise cost-prohibitive exam preparation tools to advance their education and improve career prospects.

"Not only does the administration’s new budget dismiss the value of IMLS, it reduces funding for many other worthwhile programs, including resources for children. Cutting federal support for programs like the Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy comes at the cost of early literacy, often in the most underserved areas of our nation. In addition, the White House budget proposal undermines public education for all students, penalizes librarians striving to improve their professional skills, and makes careers in public service out of reach for many.

"Libraries are the great equalizers. Anyone can come in and use the resources available – to learn, to read a book, to research, to write a resume, to code a computer program, to create a business plan, to experiment with new technologies, to access government information, and much more. By giving people access to resources, libraries offer chances for people to pursue success and achieve their goals.

"ALA members will continue to highlight the value of libraries to our elected leaders in every U.S. congressional district. We are confident that the 116th Congress will support the federal programs that invest in our communities."