Monday, April 07, 2014

Ryan’s Proposed 2015 Budget Would Eliminate IMLS Grants to Libraries

From Library Journal:

On April 1, House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his budget proposal for the fiscal year 2015... Among librarians... the most controversial cost-saving measure proposed in the Ryan budget might be its elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) entirely, cutting millions in grants to libraries around the country.

The ink was hardly dry on Ryan’s proposal before the American Library Association (ALA) released a statement slamming the notion of cutting the federal government out of the library funding picture, pointing out that as part of its work the libraries, the IMLS partners with a variety of other government agencies, and noting that “…the Institute has been a vital component in facilitating collaboration between federal agencies that relate to library services, such as the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Communication Commission and the Government Printing Office, among others.”

ALA president Barbara Stripling described herself as “shocked and extremely dismayed” by the proposal, which, if it were enacted, could severely hinder the ability of libraries around the country to provide technology resources to patrons by eliminating the grants administered by IMLS under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). “The impact of that funding has been profound in providing access to technology in libraries that absolutely would not have been able to provide that access otherwise,” Stripling told LJ, pointing out that such technology is often used to access government services by patrons who don’t have Internet access in their homes.

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