Today the American Library Association (ALA) acclaimed the re-introduction of the Build America’s Libraries Act (S. 127) by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). The legislation would provide $5 billion to support long-term improvements to library facilities, including addressing needs that have arisen due to COVID–19, to enable libraries to better serve rural, low-income and underserved areas, as well as people with disabilities and other vulnerable library users.
The Build America’s Library Act would begin to address decades of under investment by providing funds to repair and construct modern library facilities in underserved and disadvantaged communities. Specifically, funding could be used for:
- Constructing, renovating, modernizing, or retrofitting library facilities, including by enhancing facilities to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and vulnerability to natural disasters. * Investing in library infrastructure projects to improve internet access and connectivity.
- Reducing or eliminating the presence of potential hazards to library staff and patrons, including toxic substances, lead, mold, mildew, and unsafe drinking water. * Making library facilities more accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities.
- Improving library facilities for the purposes of supporting place-based services or community-based partnerships that provide library patrons with access to educational, workforce, behavioral health, mental health, and social services.
See Also: Track the Bill (via GovTrack.us)