ALA launches FY 2024 #FundLibraries campaign under tight deadline to gain House support
For Immediate Release
Deputy Director, Communications
Public Policy & Advocacy
American Library Association
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Library Association (ALA) kicked off the annual #FundLibraries campaign on March 13, 2023, calling on library advocates in every congressional district to contact their representative and ask them to support libraries by cosigning Dear Appropriator letters to fund the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. The LSTA letter, circulated by U.S. Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-07) and Don Bacon (R-NE-02), calls on House appropriators to provide at least $232 million for LSTA. The IAL letter, circulated by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA-02) and Don Bacon (R-NE-02) call for $50 million for IAL. The House deadline for signatures is March 20. Advocates can take action using ALA's #FundLibraries action center.
ALA President Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada said, “Our advocacy this week will have a domino effect for the rest of the FY 2024 budget process. The more representatives we get to cosign the Dear Appropriator letters for LSTA and IAL, the better chance we have for congressional support throughout the budget process.
“Every year, we must make the case for federal funding for libraries. This year we have 76 new members of the House of Representatives that need to know that their constituents value libraries. While many of us and our communities are facing challenges, we will not allow all the vital work of libraries to be lost in attacks on our collections and on our profession from a vocal minority.”
LSTA is the only source of dedicated federal funding for the more than 123,000 public, school, academic, government and special libraries across the nation. LSTA Grants to States ensure that every state has access to needed resources and authority to determine their use, which include a wide range of essential services such as Wi-Fi and hotspot lending, access to technology and digital skills training, employment support, business development, summer reading programs and materials for people with print disabilities.
IAL is the only federal program dedicated to supporting school libraries in the most high-need areas. Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, IAL discretionary grants provide books, parental engagement programs and professional development for library experts to ensure children are best positioned for success.
“The clock is ticking. We only have one week to ask our representatives to show they support federal funding for libraries,” said Pelayo-Lozada. “At the same time, millions of other advocates are rallying support for their causes. If this is the first time you’ve engaged with your representative, make sure they know what your library means and what your community stands to lose without support at every level of government.”
ALA tracks representatives’ signatures on Dear Appropriator letters and updates them in real time at ala.org/fundlibraries.
The Biden Administration released topline figures for its Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget on March 9, triggering the congressional budget process. The White House is expected to release proposals for specific programs such as LSTA and IAL the week of March 13.
Companion letters in the Senate will be released later this week, and with later deadlines than the House letters.