ALA summons support for Library Stabilization Fund Act
For Immediate Release
Shawnda K. Hines
Assistant Director, Communications
Public Policy and Advocacy
Sen. Reed, Rep. Levin introduce bicameral legislation to support libraries
WASHINGTON -- The American Library Association (ALA) praised today’s introduction of the Library Stabilization Fund Act, introduced in both chambers by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representative Andy Levin (D-MI), respectively. The legislation would establish a $2 billion fund, administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, to address financial losses and bolster library services, with priority to the hardest-hit communities (view ALA summary).
ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., said, “The spread of COVID-19 has caused significant financial losses for America’s libraries, resulting in disruption to core library services, thousands of furloughs and layoffs. The Library Stabilization Fund Act is the comprehensive federal response needed to keep our nation’s libraries safely in operation, and ALA is throwing the full weight of our advocacy network into supporting this bill.”
“At a time when budgets of local governments have been decimated,” continued Jefferson, “America can’t afford to dismiss a national infrastructure of 117,000 libraries nimble enough to offer relief and advance recovery.”
Stabilization funding would support a range of library services to patrons, enabling libraries to:
- Maintain core library services and keep nearly 370,000 library workers on the job
- Purchase cleaning and PPE supplies and train staff for safe re-opening
- Expand technology and services to keep millions of library users connected to the internet
- Strengthen collections and programs to address needs such as remote learning, job skills, access to government services and early literacy
Original cosponsors of the Senate bill are Jack Reed, Lead (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez, (D-NJ), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
In the House, original cosponsors of the bipartisan bill are Andy Levin (D-MI-9), Lead, Sanford Bishop (D-GA-2), André Carson (D-IN-7), Kathy Castor (D-FL-14), David Cicilline (D-RI-1), Steven Cohen (D-TN-9), Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12), Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11), John Garamendi (D-CA-3), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15), Deb Haaland (D-NM-1), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-AL), Jared Huffman (D-CA-2), Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI-5), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), James McGovern (D-MA-2), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH-2), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-7), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-8), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Terri Sewell (D-AL-7), Darren Soto (D-FL-9), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS-2) and Don Young (R-AK-AL).
In letters dated May 1, 147 members of Congress urged Senate and House leadership, respectively, to support additional funding to libraries through IMLS, warning that “library cuts would ripple throughout our communities, affecting support for education, workforce recovery, and access to computers and the Internet.” Today’s legislation will help libraries safely reopen and administer existing and new programs.
The Library Stabilization Fund Act is endorsed by the following organizations:
Association for Rural & Small Libraries
Association of Research Libraries
Chief Officers of State Library Agencies
Common Sense Media
Council of State Archivists
Edge Consulting Partners
Follett / Baker & Taylor
International Dyslexia Association
National Association of Elementary School Principals
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Center for Families Learning
National Coalition for History
National Coalition for Literacy
National Digital Inclusion Alliance
National Humanities Alliance
National League of Cities
Reading is Fundamental
Reading Recovery Council of North America
Reach Out and Read
Society of American Archivists
Urban Libraries Council
Support for the Library Stabilization Act:
“Libraries have been important partners to cities, working to keep residents informed and connected under challenging circumstances. As we look to the national recovery ahead, it is imperative to maintain library services for job seekers and small businesses. We must ensure that direct funding for libraries is coupled with direct fiscal relief to cities, towns, and villages, as many library systems depend on the financial support of their municipality.”
– Joe Buscaino, Los Angeles Council President Pro Tempore and National League of Cities President
“Our nation’s librarians are essential first responders that require priority government funding to enable services our communities need to recover from the devastation of the pandemic. Even with buildings closed, libraries and librarians are providing tools for workforce development, children’s programs and education.”
– Steve Potash, founder and CEO of OverDrive, Inc.
“Public libraries are trusted institutions, central to civic life, and well-positioned to serve as catalysts for recovery and resilience. The purposes proposed in the Library Stabilization Fund and the means by which it will be deployed will allow them to maintain focus on delivery of services and resources most important to achieve immediate and longer-term positive impacts in their communities.”
– Timothy Cherubini, Executive Director, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies
"The Association of Research Libraries strongly supports the Library Stabilization Fund Act. Libraries provide communities with indispensable access to both the information and technology needed to participate in education and the economy, playing a crucial role in mitigating the digital divide."
– Mary Lee Kennedy, Executive Director, Association of Research Libraries
The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. Visit ala.org/ppa.