MyBudget – Advocate for libraries as priority in next budget

The American Library Association Washington Office reports that Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has announced a new website where citizens can voice their budget priorities. Senator Murray is the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Here is more information about the website from CQ:

“Earlier this week, Murray announced an online effort to engage the public in the federal budget process. MyBudget, as it is called, is designed to provide members of the public with an easy way to pass along stories, ideas, values and priorities related to the budget to Congress.” –CQ, 1/29/13

Find the website at:

http://budget.senate.gov/democratic/index.cfm/mybudget

You are encouraged use this platform to make sure libraries are a priority in the next budget by promoting libraries as a budget priority and/or sharing your story. Below are some suggested talking points for public and school libraries. To make your message more effective, personalize it with details about your library and its impact in the community.

Public Libraries

  • 84% of Americans 16 or older have been to a library or bookmobile. In the last year, 59% of Americans used library services.
  • Throughout the economic downturn, patrons have increasingly turned to the local library for information on a wide range of subjects, including job searching.
  • In one year, 30 million Americans used library connections to search and apply for jobs.
  • Over 92% of libraries provide access to job databases and online job applications.
  • Although in the last 10 years the number of computer workstations has doubled, 87% of urban libraries do not have enough computers to meet the daily demand.
  • Libraries provide an important link between the government and the public – when people need to research court cases, look up a fact from an Environmental Protection Agency study or file their taxes they come to the library to do it.
  • Studies show that a child’s brain develops the most between birth and age three. Many of the 16,604 public libraries in the United States support parents and caregivers with early childhood literacy programs that train care givers in how to read to children, encourage parents in engaging in their children’s literacy development and are designed to help young children learn to read.
  • Support funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). LSTA funding helps libraries meet community needs, better utilize technology to provide enhanced services, reach underserved populations, and much more.

School Libraries

  • Research repeatedly shows that an effective school library program is an integral component of a student’s successful education -Across the United States, studies have demonstrated that students in schools with effective library programs learn more, get better grades, and score higher on assessments than their peers in schools without such resources.
  • Even though school libraries are where students develop skills they will need for the 21st century, only 60 percent of public schools have a state-certified school librarian.
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