For immediate release | February 10, 2020

ALA takes FY 2021 budget cuts seriously, urges members of Congress to visit libraries

WASHINGTON – The American Library Association (ALA) issued the following statement by ALA President Wanda Brown in response to the White House’s fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request:

The White House proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) again dismisses the value of America’s 120,000 academic, public, school and special libraries. The administration’s new budget not only brushes aside IMLS, it decreases funding for other library-eligible education programs.

ALA takes the White House proposal seriously. After three years of consistent pushback from library advocates and Congress itself, the administration still has not gotten the message: eliminating federal funding for libraries is to forego opportunities to serve veterans, upskill underemployed Americans, start and grow small businesses, teach our kids to read and give greater access to people with print disabilities in our communities.

ALA will continue our strategic approach to advocacy, rallying the growing number of library advocates to take action at each step of the appropriations process and to cultivate ongoing relationships with decision makers. When it comes to demonstrating the value of libraries, advocates have more stories to share in 2020. By promoting a complete count in the 2020 Census, libraries are ensuring that appropriate federal resources are getting to local communities. By hosting town hall meetings and facilitating voter registration, libraries are encouraging civic engagement.

ALA encourages everyone—library workers and library lovers alike—to email their members of Congress today and urge them to protect library funding in FY 2021. Visit, and follow the conversation at #FundLibraries.

Libraries are more than resources for constituents – they are resources for legislators as well. ALA urges members of Congress to visit their local library, get a library card, complete their Census questionnaire, and see for themselves why libraries deserve their support in the FY 2021 budget.


Shawnda Hines

Assistant Director, Communications

American Library Association

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office

(202) 628-8410