Category Archives: Advocacy

Spotlight News: IMLS is in trouble (Yes – again!)

I am so, so very tired of writing this same article. But, here we are again!! Usually it’s Paul Ryan who tries to destroy federal funding of libraries; but this time the budget comes from the White House, and yes – eliminates the IMLS and federal funding for libraries.

I AM LITERALLY SO FURIOUS ABOUT HAVING TO KEEP HAVING THIS CONVERSATION OVER AND OVER AGAIN THAT I AM SCREAMING AS I TYPE! I would really like to stop doing this. I would like to have the kind of world where libraries, and their amazing contributions to their communities, are just automatically funded. Where libraries are not treated as if they are some kind of disposable indulgence that can be waved away on a whim. Where we get money because our ROI is pretty darn fantastic!!!

We will never tell you who to vote for – that is always your important choice, and a decision you make  for yourself. But we know libraries are important in your life. You can see how libraries make a difference in the lives of your patrons. You know that the communities you serve, however they are defined, are better because your library is there.

You know this. I know this.

But once again, we need you to go tell some politicians this basic truth.

You might not receive money directly from the IMLS; but know that the power of our federal agency does impact on your library and your work. When we have no voice in Washington – then what? How easy will it be to think all libraries are just meaningless? That your library, and your job, can just be waved away? Too easy.

And of course, we all benefit directly from IMLS money to Minnesota. Nearly $3 million dollars each year comes to us from IMLS; read all about it here.

CMLE is hosting a Virtual Library Legislative day event on March 6, to mirror the in-person Legislative Day happening in St. Paul. We would love it if you could go to the in-person event – and we will give members scholarship money to go tell legislators about the value of your library! If you can’t go, we want you to come to us that day; we will feed you cookies as you tell your stakeholders about the value of the library.

I say this all the time, but it’s so true. Who is standing up for your library, for your patrons, and for your community? You just have us; we just have you. We both need to get on this, and to overwhelm these bozos who do not understand the value of libraries, so I can stop writing this same thing every year!!

Here is a press release from ALA:

Advocacy Alert: Federal Library Funding

Send an Email  Tweet at Congress 

What Happened

This week, the White House released its budget proposal for FY2019. As we anticipated, the budget proposed a significant cut to federal library funding. The administration’s budget proposal eliminates the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which provides approximately $183 million in direct funding to libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The budget proposal also eliminates the $27 million Innovative Approaches to Literacy program administered by the Department of Education.

Why It Matters

These proposed cuts would impact many libraries across the country. While public and school libraries would see the largest effects, academic libraries with state-funded databases are also implicated. Since each state is required to match one-third of their federal LSTA grants, any cut to LSTA in the FY2019 budget is likely to lead to a cut on the state level. In addition, the cuts to IAL specifically target school library funding, which will make it harder for vulnerable schools to acquire the books, resources, and training needed to provide high-quality literacy programs for their students. 

Wait, What Happened to the FY 2018 Budget?

Last week, Congress passed and the president signed an FY2018 budget deal that will likely include at least level funding for federal library programs at FY 2017 levels. While this budget agreement is a positive step towards resolving the FY 2018 budget, Congress will still be working on the final spending bill for a few more weeks. The ALA Washington Office will continue to monitor progress on the bill.  

What You Can Do Now

Congress will have the final say on budget allocations for these programs in the FY2019 budget. Now is the time to let them know how important federal library funding is to their constituents. Use the ALA Action Center to send your Representatives an email  and ask for their public support of library funding throughout the FY2019 appropriations cycle.

This will be a many-step process and we will need your help at key times along the way. Stay tuned for updates.

 Send an Email  Tweet at Congress 

Need More Information?

Visit District Dispatch for up-to-date news from the ALA Washington Office or and find additional resources on our website.

Here is a press release from the Corporate Committee for Library  Investment Issues:

“The Corporate Committee for Library Investment (CCLI), an organization of more than 90 U.S. corporations united to support federal library funding, believes that the proposed cuts to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) damage critical economic and educational infrastructure. We urge Congress to restore full federal funding for America’s libraries in the FY2019 budget.

Like last year, CCLI’s message to members of Congress remains the same: libraries are worth the investment. Libraries and library businesses themselves spend more than $8 billion on goods and services provided by thousands of businesses. They bring leaders, experts, entrepreneurs, veterans, students and other community members together to solve difficult problems— from access to opportunity and academic success, to work-readiness and literacy. Furthermore, they launch careers, spark passions and offer countless materials, programs and services to bolster the overall health and wellness of the communities which they, and CCLI companies, serve.

CCLI does business in every state in the nation, collectively gener­ating several billion dollars in annual revenue, employing thousands of people and financially enabling scores of other businesses in our supply and service chains to hire thousands more. The health of our businesses, our workers and all of our communities is inseparable from the health of libraries and their full federal funding.”

Right now, I’m going to go flop on my couch, feel sorry for myself and for libraries, and maybe have some healing Ben and Jerry’s. Tomorrow, I’ll be ready to dive back in and ADVOCATE for libraries!!! Join me!!!

African American Read-In at CMLE

From February 1st – 28th, participate in the African American Read In.  The goal is to “document readers making the celebration of African American literacy a traditional part of Black History Month activities.” The celebration encourages places like schools, churches, libraries, professional organizations and citizens to get involved in making literacy “a significant part of Black History Month by hosting and coordinating community Read-Ins.”

To help you plan your own event, check out these resources from Read Write that include links to classroom activities, a Library of Congress exhibit, and a host report card for you to record what happened at your own event.

Also visit NCTE’s site, which has this toolkit to help you prepare for your read in event. The toolkit has links to multiple booklists to help you with reading material selection.

To help our members – and any library people! – celebrate, CMLE will host our own African-American Read In! Tuesday, Feb. 20, at our headquarters location we will be available to talk books all day! From 11:00 to 1:00 we invite people to drop by with their lunch (Val’s is across the street, if you need something!), and have a discussion about African-American books you read, the ones you want to read, and look at the books we have in our office. Definitely feel free to bring in books/titles/authors you want us all to admire!

Join us, and Official Office Dog Lady Grey, in celebrating African-American literature!!


Valentine's Day plain M&Ms (8416943187)
Well, you probably already know that we love libraries. Pretty much, we are all about the coolness and awesomeness of libraries! (Technically, that’s essentially a job description for us; but it would be true no matter what!)

So each weekday in February, we have been sharing an interesting program from a randomly selected library across Minnesota. You can find all of them on social media at #LoveYourMNLibrary, and definitely add in some good things about your own library!!

Here are just a few of the facts we found about Minnesota libraries:

  • We love libraries! Each day in Feb, we will share a fun library fact about a MN public library doing something amazing. We have a list of all of them, and will randomly draw names to share. Chime in to share other lovely facts using #LoveYourMNLibrary ! #LibraryLoversMonth
  • #LoveYourMNLibrary Today we celebrate the excitement of Super (Science!) Saturday happening at the Zumbrota Public Library! Bottles + Balloons – you know that’s going to be so fun!!
  • #LoveYourMNLibrary Connecting to your community is great! The Owatonna Public Library is hosting a #CaptureOwatonna Photo Contest – with winning photos displayed in the library! Great work @owatonnalibrary!
  • #LoveYourMNLibrary Book groups are always fun! And the  Gilbert Public Library will have the next meeting of their Cookbook Club Tue Feb 20!  Cookbooks are always fun, and can stimulate good discussion! Does your book group talk cookbooks?
  • #LoveYourMNLibrary Are you ready to make some valentines? The Foley Public Library is hosting a Valentine’s Day Make and Take program for kids!! Go, take a kid, and make some nice cards to give to your favorite library staffer! Yay @GRiverLibrary
  • #LoveYourMNLibrary Have you visited the Hopkins branch of the Hennepin County Public Library yet?? In addition to other cool stuff, they have a searchable database of art in the library! Great work, @hclib!

It is a good idea to take a moment to step back and realize just how awesome libraries are – and how truly valuable we are to the communities we are serving! In the bustle of everyday work, it can be too easy to forget that.

Celebrate the love-filled month of February online with the #LoveYourMNLibrary  #LibraryLoversMonth messages!!

#LoveYourMNLibrary with CMLE!

Valentine's day M&Ms in the shape of a heart (8418026760)
We aren’t shy about it at all: at CMLE we looove our libraries! And we also love libraries in general! So we are celebrating the love-filled month of February looking at libraries across Minnesota. You are definitely invited to join in on the library-love-fest with fast facts about your own library!

We are collecting facts and ideas at #LoveYourMNLibrary. Each weekday we have a new cool thing one of the libraries in Minnesota is doing, hosting, or promoting. As I am a data nerd, I have collected a list of libraries across the state, and am using to select a new library each day.  We share something interesting from that library, and hope everyone else is inspired to try new things – or to bask in the glow of the wonderfulness that already is you!

This is just a quick taste of the excellent things happening in our libraries. We know there are SO many more fun things libraries of all types are trying across Minnesota. Dive in and share some with us, so we can all feel the library love!!

Burger King talks Net Neutrality

Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality net neutrality banner ad

I’m not much of a fast food eater (living downwind from a fast food beef processing plant for a few years will put you off it forever!); but I am a BIG fan of net neutrality!! We have run several articles here about the importance of Net Neutrality to libraries. (SPOILER: It’s really important!) Here is a recent one.

So I did laugh out loud when I saw Burger King’s video explaining net neutrality by using Whoppers.

Watch to see people losing their minds when they realize that paying extra will get Whoppers right now, while people who pay just the standard prices are waiting up to 20 minutes. (I can’t tell you how much I hope these people are actors!) And it really does give a very clear and immediate sense of just what losing Net Neutrality means for consumers of the internet. We may not be able to scream at our internet providers for not giving us decent access to our websites anymore, but oh will we want to do so!!

Is this another example of a big company shamelessly promoting a social issue to raise their corporate profile. Sure, probably.  I’m thinking more about Burger King this week than I have in the last five years. But it’s a cute video, and it does help to explain something that is important to libraries. Are you going to share it with your patrons? I don’t know – it would be great if there were other educational materials.

But as you ponder all the larger issues around it – click on the video, giggle while you watch it, and then get mad as heck and tell your legislators YOUR LIBRARY NEEDS NET NEUTRALITY!!!!! (Details on doing that are here.)