From Rep. Andy Levin:
Today, Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI) teamed up with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) to introduce the House companion of S.127, the Build America’s Libraries Act, which provides long-term improvements to library facilities and updates library infrastructure, prioritizing libraries in predominantly low-income and underserved communities. The Build America’s Libraries Act authorizes a $5 billion fund to modernize American library infrastructure and ensure that all Americans have access to high-tech, state-of-the-art library facilities.
“I hear regularly from communities in my district, the state of Michigan and around the country that libraries need infrastructure funding to make critical updates to their facilities,” said Rep. Levin. “The average American library building is more than 40 years old, and over the last decade, we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in investments to improve and maintain our library system. Libraries are too important for the communities they serve to continue this troubling trend. I am excited to partner with Senator Reed by introducing the Build America’s Libraries Act in the House of Representatives. Reinvesting in libraries is a win-win for our communities and our economy. Public libraries serve the public good, whether urban, suburban, or rural. Every American should have a library near them that provides the best in educational opportunities, workforce development, mental health resources, access to high-speed WiFi and, of course, books.”
The Build America’s Libraries Act authorizes a $5 billion Build America’s Libraries Fund for library infrastructure and modernization projects. Eligible uses include:
- 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;
- Improving energy and water efficiency and indoor air quality and ventilation;
- 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 to people with disabilities; and
- Assessing the condition of existing library facilities and the need for new or improved library facilities and developing facilities master plans.
The bill has the support of Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute; American Federation of State, American Federation of Teachers, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); American Indian Library Association; American Institute of Architects; American Library Association; American Society of Civil Engineers; American Society of Interior Designers; Association for Rural & Small Libraries; Association of Research Libraries; Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums; Chief Officers of State Library Agencies; Council of State Archivists; Education Market Association; International WELL Building Institute; National Coalition for History; National Coalition for Literacy; National Digital Inclusion Alliance; National Humanities Alliance; National League of Cities; National Summer Learning Association; North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU); Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition; Society of American Archivists; Urban Libraries Council.
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