Archive for the 'advocacy' Category

Advocacy Alert! New! Ask Your Rep to sign Dear Appropriator letters for LSTA & IAL, #FundLibraries

March 15th Update: We’re almost there! Here are the results so far:

  • Signed neither letter: Harris, Hoyer
  • Signed LSTA letter only, not IAL: Brown, Cummings, Ruppersberger
  • Signed both LSTA and IAL letters: Delaney, Raskin, Sarbanes – Please use Engage to thank them!

Original post:

This is a new request for action on the FY19 budget. Although the President’s budget proposal recommends the elimination of most federal funding for libraries, Congress has the ability to restore funding and they are currently working out the details of the FY19 budget. There are now Dear Appropriator letters circulating in the House that ask Representatives to preserve at least $210 million in federal funding for libraries, including the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). Getting enough signatures is key because it demonstrates the importance of and support for preserving library funding.

None of Maryland’s Representatives have signed on yet. Because Representatives Harris and Ruppersberger both serve on the Appropriations Committee, it is unlikely that they will sign a letter to themselves. However, it is still important to contact them to ask for their support because they can choose to include LSTA and IAL in their list of funding priorities. As the Minority Whip, Representative Hoyer also typically does not sign onto letters, but it is just as important to let him know about our funding needs. Visit the letter tracker for up-to-date information about who has signed on; click on the name to see complete information.

The deadline to sign on is March 19th. Last year, Brown, Cummings, Delaney, Raskin and Sarbanes signed onto both the LSTA and IAL letters. Ruppersberger included LSTA and IAL on his list of funding priorities. Only Harris and Hoyer did not sign on.

See the ALA Action Center for more details and a links to send email or tweet your Representative. Thanks in advance for your advocacy!



Advocacy Alert! Federal Library Funding Cut in FY 2019 Proposal

The FY19 federal budget proposal includes no funding for libraries. The American Library Association Washington Office (ALA-WO) is planning multiple advocacy approaches. See below for more information and the first step that you can take to advocate for funding. A status update on the FY18 budget is also provided.

What Happened

This week, the White House released its budget proposal for FY2019. As we anticipated, the budget proposed a significant cut to federal library funding. The administration’s budget proposal eliminates the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which provides approximately $183 million in direct funding to libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The budget proposal also eliminates the $27 million Innovative Approaches to Literacy program administered by the Department of Education.

Why It Matters

These proposed cuts would impact many libraries across the country. While public and school libraries would see the largest effects, academic libraries with state-funded databases are also implicated. Since each state is required to match one-third of their federal LSTA grants, any cut to LSTA in the FY2019 budget is likely to lead to a cut on the state level. In addition, the cuts to IAL specifically target school library funding, which will make it harder for vulnerable schools to acquire the books, resources, and training needed to provide high-quality literacy programs for their students.

Wait, What Happened to the FY 2018 Budget?

Last week, Congress passed and the president signed an FY2018 budget deal that will likely include at least level funding for federal library programs at FY 2017 levels. While this budget agreement is a positive step towards resolving the FY 2018 budget, Congress will still be working on the final spending bill for a few more weeks. The ALA Washington Office will continue to monitor progress on the bill.

What You Can Do Now

Congress will have the final say on budget allocations for these programs in the FY2019 budget. Now is the time to let them know how important federal library funding is to their constituents. Use the ALA Action Center to send your Representatives an email  and ask for their public support of library funding throughout the FY2019 appropriations cycle.

This will be a many-step process and we will need your help at key times along the way. Stay tuned for updates.

Thank you in advance for your advocacy efforts!


Advocacy Update: Net Neutrality has support of 50 Senators

Good news! Senators Cardin and Van Hollen have both given support to net neutrality and signed on as co-sponsors of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution! This bill, which has bipartisan support, would block the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of the net neutrality rules. Please take the time to thank Senators Cardin and Van Hollen for their support. You can call their office, or use Engage to send an email. Simply delete the pre-written message and enter your show of appreciation.

The advocacy work is not done. At least one more Republican co-sponsor is needed in the Senate, there must be a bill in the House and the Congressional action would require the President’s approval. You can use Engage to contact your Representative in the House to let them know what they can do to support net neutrality. More details are available on the District Dispatch.

Thanks in advance for your advocacy efforts!



Advocacy Alert! Support IMLS, ask Senators to co-sponsor MLSA 2017

It’s not too late to support the Institute of Museum  & Library Services (IMLS) and the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA)! The American Library Association’s Washington Office would like for people to call our Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Museum & Library Services Act (MLSA) of 2017 (S 2271) to reauthorize funding for IMLS and LSTA. This bill, if passed, would send a strong message of IMLS support to the Appropriations Committee.

Visit the engagement on the Engage site for more background information. Then call or email our Senators and tell your story about the importance of IMLS and LSTA funds for your library.

Thanks in advance for your advocacy!



Advocacy Alert! Net neutrality protections eliminated in draft FCC order

Your advocacy is needed! As was expected, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman shared a plan to eliminate net neutrality. The FCC is scheduled to vote on the plan on December 14. The FCC is not accepting public comment, but we can put pressure on Congress to strongly disapprove the proposal. 

To take action, visit the American Library Association’s (ALA) advocacy engagement and contact your members of Congress. A pre-written letter is provided and you can personalize your email to make it more effective. If you prefer to call, you can use Engage to identify your members of Congress and obtain their contact information. Additional background information may also be found at advocacy engagement link.

ALA is seeking disapproval from all members of Congress, but has a particular interest in those who serve on committees that have oversight for the FCC—the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Please note that Representative Sarbanes serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Please encourage others to contact Congress, too. Thank you in advance for your advocacy efforts!



Library Funding Bill Passes in Subcommittee

The Labor, Health & Human Services, Education and Related Agencies subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee voted yesterday to recommend level funding in FY2018 for the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS), likely including $183 million for the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) & $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program!

The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to vote on the subcommittee bills as soon as next Wednesday, July 19th. See more information in the letter from ALA President Jim Neal on the District Dispatch.

Many thanks for all of your advocacy, particularly contacting Representative Harris who serves on the subcommittee that voted!


Advocacy Alert! IMPORTANT: LSTA & IAL, Critical Round 2 with Andy Harris

We are now entering the critical round two of the Fight for funding for the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS) / Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) funding. Please act quickly and be relentless!

ALA’s Washington Office has informed us that key decisions will be made regarding IMLS/LSTA and IAL by a special subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee called “Labor H” beginning in the upcoming week.   Maryland’s own Andy Harris is on that special subcommittee and will play an influential role so it is essential that those who are his constituents phone and write Representative Harris as soon as possible—and that they spread the word to other pro-library constituents.  See the links below and please act now. 

ALA Washington Office tell us that : “If the “numbers” that the Subcommittee appropriates for IMLS, LSTA and IAL are low or zero, that will leave them in huge trouble as this first Subcommittee vote is by far the most important and influential in the entire appropriations process. That makes the members of the House “Labor H” subcommittee who represent you – especially its Chairman (OK) and seven other Republicans (AL, AR, ID, MD [Andy Harris], MI, TN, WA) – the most important members in all of Congress at this point when it comes to federal library funding for FY 2018.”

Remember that we were encouraged by another member of Congress to not give up on Representative Harris—that we can and will influence him if we continue to be determined and persuasive!  Now that effort is of the utmost importance.

Don’t forget that numbers are critical!  Harris Constituents, please call and write and also get the word out to your Friends, Foundations, Staff Associations, students, parents, etc. Congressional  Aids will literally tally the number of calls and emails and tell Members of Congress the level of support for libraries.

Here are some of key facts and links:

  • ALA asks Rep. Andy Harris’ constituents to contact their DC office immediately through the ALA Legislative Action Center to urge support for IMLS, and $186.6 million for LSTA and $27 million for IAL in FY 2018: the same funding levels for LSTA and IAL specified in the Dear Appropriator letters we all finished calling about just before Memorial Day. The ALA Legislative Action Center is all set to permit anyone entering a zip code in your Congressperson’s District to use its draft email message, or to customize the text as they wish.  THEN, Call Representative Harris’s Office: 9am-5pm Monday-Friday DC Office Phone: 202-225-5311
  • Maryland received 2.9 million dollars in LSTA funding in FY 2016.   IAL, designed to help only the poorest school libraries, is supported Baltimore City Public Schools through a grant in 2016.  Your examples of how IMLS/LSTA and IAL funds have impacted your county community are powerful with your representative.  Consider examples regarding training, statewide leadership form the state library, support for innovation in services, evaluation, and increasing positive community impact.   Loss of LSTA funds would devastate the State Library Agency (Division of Library Development & Services), as the funds are used for their operations, as well as to support state-wide training, MLA Conference programs, the Maryland Library Leadership Institute and more. LSTA issue brief available at:


  • Additional information about LSTA and IAL funds in Maryland are available on the Maryland Engage site.

Our determined efforts in May had a huge impact on the number of Dear Appropriator Letters from Maryland representatives.  Let’s not lose that momentum as actual budgetary decisions for FY 2018 are being made by the House Appropriations Subcommittee and Rep Harris.  Write and call and spread the word.

Thank you!!



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