Some early success in the fight to fund IMLS!

We are passing along this letter from ALA President Julie Todaro. It looks like there is some growing support in the federal legislature for continuing to fund IMLS!

Remember that Minnesota directly receives nearly $3 million a year from IMLS. They fund the LSTA grants, they support training of all sorts across the profession, and they fund projects too large for one library do to alone. Check out our podcast on Digitization projects to hear about a few amazing things IMLS has helped to fund – including the Minnesota Digital Library, that many of us use every day!

Have you sent an email, or called, or stopped in to visit a federal or state legislator to tell them about the great things libraries do? Yes! Great!! Do it again!! Libraries need all of us to stand up NOW, and tell everyone how wonderful we are! (And we are – so go brag about the things you do every day!)

From Julie Todaro:

“Hello library advocate leaders and thank you for all of your efforts to dramatically increase the number of Members of the House of Representatives this year signing our “Dear Appropriator” letters of support for IAL and LSTA. Last year, our signer totals stood at 124 and 88 for those programs, respectively.

I could not be more pleased to tell you that as of the close of business on Tuesday, all of us — working as a team led by Emily and especially Adam and the ALA Office of Government Relations — had convinced 146 Members of the House to support IAL funding in FY 2018 and (drumroll, please144 Members to back LSTA. (See whether and how your Representative supported IAL and/or LSTA with our sortable online tracker tool….and let me state in advance that I am sorry the tracker is not easily accessible.)

Those totals, which are or the first time bipartisan on both letters, represent a 18% increase in support for IAL and a phenomenal 64% increase for LSTA over last year! Put another way, effectively one-third of the entire US House of Representatives has told the House Appropriations Committee in writing that they support BOTH IAL funding at $27 million and LSTA appropriations of $186.6 million in FY 2018!

As I said during one of our many telephone briefing calls (Board, Council, Chapters, Affiliates, etc.) in which you likely participated, this is just the beginning of a year-long fight to actually secure these vital funds at the end of the current appropriations cycle, but this was an important — and large — first hump to get over by mobilizing our community and others as never before. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

In a very little while, OGR and ALA leadership will be back to us with next steps…what we all can and must do during the coming Congressional recess next week and the one following.  They’ll also be guiding us through the Dear Appropriator letter advocacy process again when the Senate kicks off its letter-signing season later this month. Fight for Libraries! and OGR will be there to help all through the process, as I know you will be. And we all know how easy it is to contact people so we expect even more support…

But . . . for a day or two anyway, enjoy this collective victory and, please, share it with all of your members and communities in a way that helps them understand that we are powerful when we unite . . . and have much, much more vital work to do together.

Thank you all again, very much! And thanks to Board, ALA staff, ALA media, and especially W.O. for our first big win….

I can’t post to everyone’s list so ALA staff will cover an email to Chapters and I am asking Melissa and Patty to post to affiliates.

You have – officially – 48 hours of rest – then we get back on….