Don't Cut Funding for WA State Libraries

Don't Cut Funding for WA State Libraries

The Washington State Library receives about half its funding from Olympia and the other half from 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 “skinny budget”. Speaker Ryan has also targeted IMLS for complete shutdown in previous budgets. If our state library suddenly loses half its funding and has to unexpectedly cut basic services, a lot of vulnerable people who use these library services in our state will be hurt. It’s up to us to contact to our Senators and ...

The Washington State Library receives about half its funding from Olympia and the other half from 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 “skinny budget”. Speaker Ryan has also targeted IMLS for complete shutdown in previous budgets. If our state library suddenly loses half its funding and has to unexpectedly cut basic services, a lot of 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.

Our state library puts about $3.2 million in IMLS money to work each year on basic services like The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library which provides braille books and ‘talking books’ for the blind, statewide access to e-books, and 24/7 homework help for kids across the state. Respectfully, if the president wants to encourage job growth and support success and prosperity for all Americans, cutting IMLS is not the smart way to do it for Washington state. Along with those key programs, our state library leverages IMLS funds for statewide information tools that support small business growth and entrepreneurial success. Our state library trains teacher librarians on digital tools and media literacy skills, and supports summer reading / summer learning for kids of all economic backgrounds. Across the state, a small amount of IMLS money funds 9 prison libraries to educate inmates and help keep them from returning to prison.

The Washington Library Association disagrees with cutting IMLS. It’s not a good budget idea. It should not be tossed out for ideological reasons. Programs like The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library work, and we should continue to invest in it and other Washington State Library programs. We need your help today to reach our Senators Murray and Cantwell with a specific message to preserve library funding in the 2018 budget. Please ask them to sign the Dear Appropriator letter for IMLS and also the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) grants that focus on school library programs. It will let our state library continue to run smart library programs that serve all Washingtonians.

Please use the form at right to contact Senators Murray and Cantwell about IMLS and IAL. We made it this easy to make your voice heard and preserve these critical federal program for libraries for Washington state and all Americans.

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