Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Library Funding on Chopping Block at Federal, State, and Local Levels

ALA Offers Checklist on How You Can Help Save Library Funding

Former First Lady Laura Bush has said about libraries, "Libraries offer, for free, the wisdom of the ages - and sages - and, simply put, there's something for everyone inside."

Yet with a global economic crisis at hand, public and school library budgets are being drastically cut at all levels--preventing the wisdom, information, entertainment, and inspiration of the ages from being accessible to all.

Now that the debt ceiling crisis is behind us, we urge library supporters across the nation to focus on how we can save funding for public and school libraries. Deep financial cuts will be made as a result of the debt agreement and we must advocate for library funding with our elected officials and demonstrate why library finding is NOT the place to make these cuts. 

Here are a few tips from the American Library Association on how you can help:

Step 1
Contact your
Congressional representatives' district offices to see if they have any town hall meetings coming up. You can quickly find contact information for your Representative and Senators here

Step 2
Think of examples and stories of how your local library provides essential services to your community. Emphasize how these services are free to users and of a minimal cost to taxpayers. Show your elected officials how cutting library funding hurts the community, especially in this tough economy. The ALA Washington Office has resources you can use. For the latest issue briefs, click here. To visit the ALA Advocacy page, click here.

Step 3
Attend a town hall meeting to share stories and information with your elected official. As a bonus, you will not only be informing your official but also other citizens in the audience who may not know about all the resources a 21st century library can provide.

Step 4
Invite your elected official to visit a public or school library to show them firsthand the services libraries offer. Click here for the "Get Legislators in Your Library" webinar. And click here for a list of steps to take in setting up a Congressional visit of your library.

Lastly, be sure to check out the NCBLA's Become an Activist page for additional ways you can support literacy and influence policy and legislation on a local, state, and national level.