Urgent Call to Action! Ask your Senators to Support Library Funding!

Please contact your Senators and ask them to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter being circulated by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in support of funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program.

Take Action

The deadline to sign the letter is Tuesday May 5! LSTA and Improving Literacy Through School Libraries are two of the most important federal programs for libraries today. The letter will not be taken seriously, and it will appear as if Members of Congress do not care about libraries if we don’t have 60 signers on the letter. Programs that don’t have a vocal support network are in danger of being cut.

The letter is addressed to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriation Subcommittees and requests that the Senate include $300 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and $100 million for the Improving Literary Through School Libraries program for FY 2010. You can see the letter here.

Please click the “Take Action” link in the upper right hand corner. This link will take you to sample language and direct it toward your specific Senator. When you contact your Senators you must ask him or her to call Andrew Odgren with Senator Reed at 202-224-4642 or Mathew Hussey with Senator Snowe at 202-224-5344.

Talking Points:

  • The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) was reauthorized as part of the Museum and Library Services Act of 2003 (H.R. 13) and signed by the President on September 25, 2003 (P.L. 108-81)
  • LSTA is the only federal funding program exclusively for libraries.
  • The Grants to State Library Agencies program provides funds to State Library Administrative Agencies using a population-based formula. State libraries may use the appropriation to support statewide initiatives and services; they also may distribute the funds through subgrant competitions or cooperative agreements to public, academic, research, school, and special libraries in their state.
  • LSTA offers a variety of competitive grants available to librarians: The 21st Century Librarians Program; The National Leadership Grants; and the Native American Library Services: Enhancement Grants.
  • Around the country, knowledgeable librarians use the flexible LSTA funding to help patrons access essential information on a wide range of topics. They offer training on résumé development; help on web searches of job banks; workshops on career information; links to essential educational and community services; assistive devices for people with disabilities; family and youth literacy classes and services; homework help and mentoring programs; access to government information; a forum for enhanced civic engagement; summer reading programs and much more.
  • LSTA provides funds to help libraries connect to each other electronically and provide users access to information through state, regional, national, and international networks.
  • State libraries use LSTA funds to support statewide initiatives and also distribute the funds through subgrants or cooperative agreements to public, school, academic, research, and special libraries.
  • LSTA funding enables libraries to pursue innovative opportunities, recruit and educate the next generation of librarians, and support research that is critical to libraries of all types.
  • LSTA funds help libraries provide persons of limited financial resources or who live in remote areas, access to books and reference materials, computers and the internet, and community-based social services that are often available nowhere else.
  • LSTA helps libraries serve as an important link to the business community, assisting with job creation and training programs, as well as assisting with business development initiatives.