Ask Sens. Durbin and Kirk to Support Library Funding

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) is expected to mark-up (take a vote) on the FY 2013 LHHS budget on Tuesday, June 12. This budget is the source of federal funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as well as funding for school libraries.

You are receiving this e-mail because your senators, Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, serve on this subcommittee. Please call Sen. Durbin at 202-224-2152 and Sen. Kirk at 202-224-2854 today and ask them to support the following in the LHHS FY 2013 Appropriations bill:

1. Level funding of the LSTA at $184.7 million for FY 2013.

2. Level funding of the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program at $28.6 million for FY 2013.


Background on LSTA

LSTA is the primary source of annual funding for libraries in the federal budget. It is a population-based grant funded to each state through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), an independent federal government agency. Each state determines how they will allocate their LSTA funds. This money is often used to provide job searching databases, resume workshops, summer reading projects, and so much more. In addition, LSTA also supports:

  • Native American and Native Hawaiian Library Services to support improved access to library services for Native Americans, Alaska Native Villages, and Native Hawaiians;
  • National Leadership Grants to support activities of national significance that enhances the quality of library services nationwide and provide coordination between libraries and museums; and,
  • Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians which is used to help develop and promote the next generation of librarians.

Background on IAL

From 2002 to 2010, the Improving Literacy through School Libraries program had been the primary source for federal funding of school libraries. However, in recent years the President and U.S. Congress have consolidated or zero-funded this program. A special thanks to Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) who recognized that school libraries need a direct funding source in the federal budget – and had the money redirected in the U.S. Department of Education for the IAL program.