Proposed Elimination of IMLS

3 Apr

Time to jump up on my soapbox again… Representative Paul Ryan, “the House Budget Committee Chairman denounces the critical role that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) plays in supporting civic engagement, literacy and lifelong learning in more than 123,000 libraries nationwide.”  His recommendation?  The federal government should not have a role in public libraries and shift funding to the private sector.  And herein lies the issue.  Pushing money into the private sector is not necessarily going to be helping Americans.    For more information, check the ALA’s Washington Office post.

For many, the public library is the only place where free access to the Internet is available, where free programs are offered for education, enjoyment, and community engagement, where people can apply for jobs, find information about how to sign up for insurance, and more.  Public libraries are a meeting place for the community – offering resources for literally everyone from babies to seniors and although taxes are paid to support public libraries, it’s not enough.  The funding from IMLS is necessary for many libraries to stay open, with well-trained staff ready to help their communities be educated consumers of information.

The President of ALA, Barbara Strickland, had this to say, “Library funding support from the Institute for Museum and Library Services wields large returns in the form of literate and civically engaged communities. We hope that Congress will support the important role that the Institute for Museum and Library Services plays in supporting educated communities by rejecting the House Budget resolution.”  You can read her entire response in the School Library Journal article.

Although the typical view of librarians is meek and mild, you definitely don’t want them to get enraged and engaged, because they can definitely make a scene when necessary, and it looks like it might be necessary.

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