Libraries Retain More Than $1.3 Billion in Federal Funding in Massive Spending Bill Passed By Congress
Washington, D.C. — Libraries retained over a billion dollars in federal funding for library-related programs in a stopgap funding package passed by Congress on December 9 to avoid a midnight shutdown of the federal government. The continuing resolution that cleared Friday by the Senate following Thursday’s House approval will allow spending by all arms of the federal government to continue at or near FY2016 levels through April 28, 2017. The President signed the resolution Saturday.
“American libraries and librarians transform communities, but we wouldn’t have the reach we do without support from the federal government,” said ALA President Julie Todaro. “Federal dollars allow many libraries to offer unique programs tailored to their communities and their constituents, particularly in underserved areas. This critical federal support for key library grant programs is made possible thanks to our champions in Congress and the advocacy of thousands of librarians and library supporters who write, call and visit their members of Congress at home and during National Library Legislative Day.”
Of special importance to libraries, the continuing resolution includes:
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) – $183 million
LSTA, the primary annual source of federal support for libraries, directs grants to states through the Institute for Museum and Library Services. States determine for themselves the best use of funding. Grants support an array of critical services for constituents such as computer instruction, summer reading programs, electronic database access, collection digitization, access to e-books, adaptive technology and more.
Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) – $27 million
IAL funding allows school libraries to modernize and purchase up-to-date materials including books and e-books and adaptive technology for millions of students in high-need and underserved communities across the nation.
Library of Congress – $599 million
Resources of the Library of Congress are accessible to people around the world because of government funding, which includes $50 million for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and $372 million for the National Archives.
Government Publishing Office (GPO) – $117 million
Libraries are extensive consumers of government data and other information produced by the GPO. Select libraries throughout the country are formally designated as federal depositories of GPO output.
National Library of Medicine – $394 million
Libraries around the country offer their constituents access to a broad range of health-related topics through the National Library of Medicine.
In addition, the federal E-rate program ($234 million) enables virtually every library in America to offer free internet access, and military libraries funded through the Department of Defense provide resources and services to millions of military servicemen and women and their families around the world.