This blog post is reposted with permission from the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) blog. It was originally posted on March 16, 2017. Libraries play a vital role in the health of a democracy and offer many essential services to communities, not least of which is connecting readers with books. If you value libraries, make your voice heard.
The White House budget that was released on March 16 calls for eliminating the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS), the only federal agency charged with providing support to the nation’s hundreds of thousands of libraries and museums. ALA and YALSA need your help to ensure that IMLS is saved, because without libraries teens will not have the resources and support they need to succeed in school and prepare for college, careers, and life. Here’s what you can do right now:
- Between now and April 3, contact your House Rep to ask them to support two library funding bills. Ready to use messages and contact information are on the ALA site.
- Meet with your Congress members April 8 – 23 when they’re back at home because Congress is taking a recess
- Adapt this sample letter to the editor and send it to your local paper
- Use the sample messages in this document to contact the offices of your members of Congress
- Share your photo or story via this form of how support from IMLS has enabled you and your library to help the teens in your community. YALSA will use this information to advocate against the elimination of IMLS
- Sign up via this web page to receive updates on the #SaveIMLS effort
- Add your name to this online petition being circulated by EveryLibrary
- Start planning how you, your teen patrons, and library advocates will participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 2. Use the resources on YALSA’s wiki
- Join YALSA, or make a donation, because together we’re stronger. YALSA’s the only organization that supports and advocates for teen services. Dues start at $61 per year. Your support will build our capacity to advocate for teens and libraries
- Add this #SaveIMLS Twibbon to your social media graphics & put a similar message in your email signature
- Encourage your friends, family, and colleagues to do the above as well
Don’t know much about IMLS? Here’s a quick overview: through IMLS, every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories receive funding to support their state’s libraries and museums. In FY14 the total funding IMLS distributed to states and territories was $154,800,000. In addition, IMLS offers competitive grant opportunities that individual libraries and museums can apply for. In FY14 they awarded 594 grants (from 1,299 applications) totaling more than $54,700,000. Visit the IMLS site to see how much funding your state receives from them.
Want to take further action to support teens and libraries? We salute you! Check out the free online resources we have to make speaking up for teens and libraries easy.