National Library Legislative Day Priorities

2018 Priorities

Innovative Approaches to Literacy  I  Library Services & Technology Act  I  #SaveIMLS  I  Broadband  I  Additional Information on Teens & Libraries


ALA Position: The American Library Association asks all Members of Congress to support level funding of $27 million in FY2019 for the proven and effective Innovative Approaches to Literacy program.

What does this bill mean for libraries and the public?

  • Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) grants fund literacy programs in schools nationwide. Fully half of the funding is targeted to libraries in underserved schools via the Improving Literacy through School Libraries program.
  • Exposure to books is an essential part of early childhood literacy and greatly increases a child's likelihood of success in high school, college and in 21st century jobs.
  • Research has proven that access to quality literacy resources has a direct and positive relationship to lifelong reading behavior and motivation, and encourages families to read together.
  • IAL is the only source of federal funding for school library materials targeting literacy.

Level FY2019 funding for IAL in the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill will permit libraries to continue serving millions of school children in every state in the country.

  • Libraries will continue to be the leading federal vehicle for encouraging young children to read and to provide them with access to critical literacy materials.  Successful IAL programs across the country have provided books for children to take home—often the only books a child may have in their home. Other successful programs have helped purchase e-readers, expand school library access, and replace outdated library material.
  • The most recent available survey of teachers documented that 82% of elementary school students, 87% of middle school students, and 80% of high school students most often find their independent reading books in school libraries.


ALA Position: The American Library Association asks all Members of Congress to support funding the Library Services and Technology Act at $189.3 million for FY2019. Including $189.3 million in LSTA funding in the FY2019 "Labor, HHS" Appropriations bill will keep libraries contributing at the core of tens of thousands of communities in every state in the nation.  Read ALA's Issue Brief on appropriations for more information.

What does this bill mean for libraries and the public?

  • The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is the only federal funding program for libraries. The majority of this funding goes to each state through the Institute of Museum and Library Services in the form of a population-based matching grant.
  • Each state determines how best to use its own LSTA funding, and this document gives a state-by-state breakdown of how funds are used. States previously have issued grants to libraries, for example, to: update technology resources and services, create summer learning programs, assist job seekers to build resumes and apply for jobs, and develop services for community engagement.
  • Unfortunately, because federal LSTA funding is matched with state funds, if LSTA funding were reduced or eliminated, libraries would lose both sources of revenue.
  • Funding LSTA at $189.3 million for FY2019 would continue critical existing programs and launch a new national digital platform that will connect patrons to services and online collections enabling new forms of inquiry and exploration at any time of the day.
  • With LSTA's help, libraries and highly-skilled librarians will continue to serve a vital role in communities by providing free access to all types of information, job skills training, and computing services. The demand for such services has grown in concert with the need to apply online for many jobs and government services, especially for Americans who don't have adequate or affordable broadband in their homes. Even as the economy shows signs of improvement, millions of patrons continue to turn to their local library for assistance and access to essential information of every kind.
  • LSTA also supports: improved access to library services for Native Americans, Alaska Native Villages, and Native Hawaiians; National Leadership Grants to support activities of national significance that enhance the quality of library services nationwide and fund pilot programs for coordination between libraries; and, the Laura Bush 21 Century Librarians program, which develops and promotes the next generation of America's indispensable librarians.


The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the only federal agency whose focus is libraries.  They provide about $210 million in funding per year to the nation’s libraries, including LSTA mentioned above, but also via competitive grants.  The White House budget for FY19 proposes the total elimination of IMLS and federal funds for libraries.  The ALA Position is that IMLS must not be eliminated.  For more information, read ALA's initial press release about this issue, or visit

Support Broadband & Libraries' Role in Providing It

Broadband Internet access is essential for survival in the 21st century.  Teens rely on it to complete school assignments, take practice exams, explore career options, apply for jobs and college and more.  The nation's 17,000+ public libraries and 88,000+ school libraries are where teens go to access the Internet.  Read ALA's Issue Brief on broadband for more information.

  • Libraries must be included and supported in all kinds of federal broadband initatives, programs and funding.
  • Libraries can be leveraged as part of broadband adoption and upskilling efforts.
  • Congres must support legislation that bans blocking, throttling, degrading or paid prioritization of Internet traffie and includes clear enforcement authority.