Members of the health sciences library community are encouraged to contact your Senators and urge them to support libraries by cosponsoring S. 2271, The Museum and Library Services Act of 2017. Help them understand how your library supports the constituents of their state, and how IMLS funding supports grassroots initiatives including
- Recruitment and training of our next generation of library and information science professionals from a broad range of backgrounds;
- National Leadership grant funds for activities serving a range of library types and geographically diverse areas; and
- Supporting the roles of libraries as community hubs, equipped to serve evolving and diverse community needs.
The Museum and Library Services Act of 2017 introduced by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Susan Collins (R-ME) Thad Cochran (R-MS), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) reauthorizes the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). ALA's Washington Office explains that IMLS administers funding through the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA), the only federal program that covers services and funding for libraries. LSTA provides more than $183 million for libraries through the Grants to States program, the National Leadership Grants for Libraries, the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, and Native American Library Services. For more information see Senator Jack Reed's December 21, 2017 news release.
Why Reauthorizing the IMLS Matters
Federally funded agencies or programs such as the IMLS requires authorization legislation passed by Congress to provide for its justification. The authorization must be periodically reauthorized. IMLS and LSTA were last authorized in 2010, and the authorization expired in 2016. Although an authorization is not required for a program to receive federal funding, passage of a reauthorization sends a strong signal of support to the Appropriations Committees.