White House FY 2023 Budget Proposal Positive but “Not Enough” for Libraries
For Immediate Release
Assistant Director, Communications
Pubic Policy & Advocacy
American Library Association
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The FY (FY) 2023 federal budget released by the White House on March 28 proposed an $8.8 million increase for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), including $3.6 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), above the FY 2022 budget recently signed by the president. The FY 2023 proposal also included a $1 million decrease for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program administered through the Department of Education. The FY 2023 budget recommendation would raise LSTA to $201 million and reduce IAL to $28 million.
American Library Association (ALA) President Patty Wong released the following statement:
“Funding increases for LSTA and other library eligible line items in the federal budget are welcome, but they are not enough to maintain in-demand library services and pay library workers, who carry out those services. The $1 million decrease for IAL is disappointing at a time when strong support for literacy is crucial. America’s libraries need more federal support to meet demand and withstand the cost of inflation, currently hovering above seven percent.
“Everyone in the community benefits from libraries, even including Congressmembers who keep office hours at local public libraries in their districts. If America is serious about fostering a love of learning, getting older adults set up for telehealth appointments, preparing a skilled workforce for well-paying jobs and supporting research and innovation, then Congress and the president must provide robust funding for libraries.”
The administration’s annual budget request officially kicks off the congressional appropriations cycle each fiscal year. Library advocates will ask their members of Congress to sign onto “Dear Appropriator” letters, produced and circulated by library champions in the House and Senate to rally support for federal funding for libraries. The appeal for signatures is the first and most important nationwide effort for library advocates to secure documented support for LSTA and IAL.
“As we gear up for National Library Week, I encourage library advocates to use whatever platforms they have – from social media to social gatherings, from newsletters to blogs – to share impact stories with their elected leaders at every level. ALA is here to equip libraries with tools and support for hosting elected leaders for a tour of their facilities and programs. “
The White House budget also includes funding for school construction. ALA welcomes the proposal to create a new Office of School Infrastructure and Sustainability within the Department of Education and applauds the administration’s recognition of the need for additional investment in education facilities, which include school libraries.
ALA’s master chart of library-related federal program funding will soon be available at https://www.ala.org/advocacy/library-funding.