Don't Cut Federal Funding for California Libraries

Don't Cut Federal Funding for California Libraries

The state of California has over 1,100 public libraries and now it is in danger of losing significant federal funding. California libraries provide a wide array of services to the public that include services to veterans, summer reading, literacy programs, after-school help, career-building programs, and much more. A significant portion of these services and programs are partially or fully funded by a national library program called the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This federal library funding is under threat of elimination in President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal. Dubbed “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America ...

The state of California has over 1,100 public libraries and now it is in danger of losing significant federal funding. California libraries provide a wide array of services to the public that include services to veterans, summer reading, literacy programs, after-school help, career-building programs, and much more. A significant portion of these services and programs are partially or fully funded by a national library program called the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This federal library funding is under threat of elimination in President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal. Dubbed “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” this budget delivers a devastating blow to the 120,000 libraries nationwide that provide essential services to millions of Americans. If our state loses this funding and has to unexpectedly cut basic services, vulnerable people who use these library services in our state will be hurt. It’s up to us to contact to our Senators and ask them to #SaveIMLS.

Libraries are drivers of economic success and hubs of entrepreneurship and invention. They:

  • promote literacy at all ages

  • enable measurable improvements in student achievement

  • provide job retraining and job search services

  • act as safe and welcoming community centers in neighborhoods across the US

  • connect people with the information and services they need to succeed in life

  • provide access to technology and to free resources and services for our most vulnerable and underserved residents, including veterans, people experiencing homelessness, children, and the elderly.

In places like San Francisco, the library manages a successful teen digital lab that serves over 85,000 young people each year.  That program, like so many others, was started by a generous grant from IMLS called “The Mix.”  The San Francisco library's literacy program is also partly supported by IMLS funds through the California State Library. These innovative opportunities, along with a national vision for libraries and museum, would be lost without IMLS.

Through its grants to state libraries, IMLS also provides vital funding for the development of innovative library services to meet many other community needs.  Projects supported by IMLS in California include helping adults earn high school diplomas, providing books to underserved rural areas, and increasing access to mental health resources.  IMLS funds also support California’s statewide summer reading program to ensure that kids maintain their reading skills over the summer break, preservation of local historical records, and enhanced access to library collections.

Defunding the IMLS shows a fundamental lack of awareness or care for the essential services libraries provide and requires all Americans to fight this shameless attack. We are working to mobilize the millions of library patrons and supporters across our state to stop this from becoming a reality.  We ask you to take the first step by sending an email today.

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