ALA calls on Congress to restore support to libraries in FY2012 budget
WASHINGTON, D.C.– H.R. 1473, the budget bill that will fund the government through September 2011, includes across-the-board cuts that may deeply affect libraries of all kinds.
The bill, which cleared Congress Thursday night, includes a $28 million cut to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), appropriating the agency at $237.8 million for FY2011. IMLS has 30 days to determine how they will administer these cuts.
The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program – the only federal program exclusively for school libraries – was absent from the bill text. The program was last appropriated at $19.1 million in FY2010. By not designating an appropriation for the remainder of FY2011 in this bill, Congress gave authority to the Department of Education to determine funds for school libraries. The Department of Education also has 30 days from the date of enactment of H.R. 1473 to submit to Congress an operating plan for school libraries.
“These cuts in funding hurt people throughout the United States who depend on libraries,” American Library Association (ALA) President Roberta Stevens said.
“We are putting our nation at a disadvantage as we compete in a world that realizes and values the importance of being educated and informed.”
As the FY2012 budget debate proceeds, the ALA calls on Congress to restore support for libraries, which serve the American public now more than ever with job hunting and career development. In our schools, libraries provide students with the 21st century skills they need to succeed in the Digital Age.