FY 2020 Library Budget signed; Final bill includes increases for LSTA and other programs

For Immediate Release
Fri, 12/20/2019


Shawnda Hines

Assistant Director, Communications

Public Policy and Advocacy Office

American Library Association


WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congress provided the largest increase for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding in 12 years.

“ALA advocates’ tireless work to make the case for library funding has resulted in the highest increase for IMLS in the last decade,” said ALA President Wanda K. Brown. “I am so proud of everyone who called, emailed, tweeted, and met with their members of Congress in D.C. and at home—this is your win!”

The House- and Senate-approved final FY 2020 spending bills included $252 million for IMLS, a $10 million increase for an agency originally marked for elimination by the president. Of the overall increase, $6.2 million was dedicated to the LSTA program, which includes:

  • $166.8 million for LSTA Grants to States ($160.8 million in FY19)
  • $5.3 million for LSTA Native American Library Services ($5.1 million in FY19)
  • $10 million for LSTA Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Grants ($10 million in FY19)
  • $13.4 million for LSTA National Leadership for Libraries ($13.4 million in FY19)

“As always, our gratitude goes to Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) as well as Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-3) and Don Young (R-AK-al) for leading the LSTA effort in Congress,” said Brown. “Their dedication and long-standing commitment to IMLS means critical funding for libraries is growing at the national level.”

Longtime library champion Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) said, “Local libraries enrich our communities in so many ways and I am pleased we were able to boost our national commitment to these institutions. This will help build the capacity to support and expand access to library services and help these institutions better serve their communities,” said. “And due to a change I authored with Senator Collins in last year’s bipartisan Museum and Library Services Act, smaller states will now share in the increase.”

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), a steadfast leader on the library Dear Appropriator Letter campaign, said, “Libraries and museums are repositories of knowledge, providing important educational resources for communities in Maine and across the country that help us all learn and grow. Last year, Senator Reed and I championed the reauthorization of the Museum and Library Services Act, which renewed the federal commitment to supporting America’s libraries and museums. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I worked to secure additional funding for the new law and will continue to advocate for support of these important institutions.”

In addition to IMLS increases, overall funding for the Department of Education was increased by $1.3 billion. Innovative Approaches to Literacy—also originally proposed for elimination—received $27 million for FY 2020, with support from the lead cosponsors of the “Dear Appropriator” letters for the program in both chambers: Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30), Don Young (R-AK-al) and James McGovern (D-MA-2).

Other library-eligible programs in the education budget receiving funding include:

  • $27 million for Innovative Approaches to Literacy ($27 million in FY19)
  • $1.21 billion for Title IV Part A Well-Rounded Education ($1.17 billion in FY19)
  • $192 million for Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grants ($190 million in FY19)
  • $1.25 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers ($1.22 billion in FY19)
  • $16.3 billion for Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies ($15.9 billion in FY19)
  • $2.13 billion for Title II Supporting Effective Instruction ($2.06 billion in FY19)

Additional programs receiving increases include the Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.

The library funding success follows on the engagement of many ALA members who advocated for funding year-round.

“ALA’s national network of local and state influencers, along with key communications efforts—was the foundation for this accomplishment,” said Brown.

The budget deal averts a federal government shutdown, which would have been the second such shutdown this year.