America’s libraries got a major boost this week on Capitol Hill as a group of leading publishing, information, software, and other businesses unveiled an organized effort to advocate for federal library funding.
Dubbed, the Corporate Committee for Library Investment (CCLI) the effort launches with more than two-dozen members, including two Big Five publishers (Penguin Random House, and Macmillan) as well as a number of national trade associations such as the American Booksellers Association (ABA), and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA).
The CCLI expands an effort that began last week with a letter to Congress from eight publishers and library vendors, urging Congress to fully fund libraries.
“Members of CCLI are united by the common belief that America’s libraries are business-building, job-creating, workforce-preparing engines of the U.S. economy in every corner of the country,” a release announcing the effort states. “The group formed to tell that story to Congress and other federal policy makers who control library funding, and to encourage every American business to do the same."
The CCLI launches as libraries face serious threats to their funding. The Trump administration has proposed to eliminate virtually all federal library funding, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the agency that distributes those funds to all 50 states.
Specifically, a CCLI letter to lawmakers this week expressly asks senators to sign two “Dear Appropriator” letters calling for $186.6 million in FY 2018 funding for programs under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program (IAL).
In addition, CCLI urges Congress to reauthorize the Museum and Library Services Act (the broad legislation which establishes library funding) and to “assure that any infrastructure investments authorized by Congress both include library facilities and leverage the nation’s 120,000 libraries to make high-speed broadband service available in every corner of America, especially in rural and other underserved communities.”
Publishers and library vendors can visit the CCLI website to sign on to the group's letter to Congress, and the ALA is asking librarians and library supporters from all over the country to also call their senators and urge them to sign the Dear Appropriator letters by May 19.