From the American Library Association:
The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased with the White House’s fiscal year (FY) budget proposal submitted today before Congress, which includes federal funding increases designated for libraries. ALA is hopeful that Congress will continue its eight-year streak of increasingly robust funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.
“The return on investment in libraries has never been more clear,” said ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. “Word has spread that libraries offer valuable services, information and technology, both on and off their premises. Over the past year, millions of Americans have used libraries to register for vaccines, secure stimulus checks, complete homework assignments, telework and experience their first telehealth appointments. “
The administration’s budget released today supports $265 million in total for IMLS in FY 2022, including $197 million for the IMLS-administered Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), and $28 million for IAL in FY 2022 administered through the Department of Education. The proposed number for the full IMLS budget saw an increase of $8 million from last year, which totaled $257 million in FY 2021. The proposed funding for the LSTA and IAL are level with the FY 2021 final budget, both of which received increases from the previous year.
Even more than access points and free spaces, libraries are gateways to opportunity, as professional staff offer the skills people need to effectively use new technology and navigate a wealth of information. “We can all agree that the returns are what our communities need to thrive: connectivity, better jobs, new skills, innovation, and a love of learning,“ said Jefferson.
As the annual appropriations process moves forward, ALA and library advocates nationwide will continue engaging with decisionmakers in order to sustain these critical investments.