ALA officials this week expressed thanks to 54 U.S. Representatives who sent a letter this week urging House negotiators to support federal funding for library buildings. The letter comes as Congress prepares to negotiate the fiscal year FY2023 funding bills, with the clock ticking on a stopgap funding measure that will expire on Dec. 16.
Specifically, the lawmakers are urging their house counterparts to support the inclusion of a $20 million to be distributed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for library and museum renovation and construction projects. If passed, it would be the first federal funding to modernize library buildings nationwide in some 26 years.
"Public libraries and museums remain a cornerstone of our communities and backbone of the nation’s education system," the latter reads. "Every American should have a library near them that provides the best in educational opportunities, workforce development, mental health resources, access to high-speed Wi-Fi and, of course, books." The letter, which has bipartisan support, was spearheaded by Reps. Andy Levin (D-MI-9) and Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13),
In a statement, ALA President Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada thanks the lawmakers.
“The American Library Association thanks Representatives Levin and Espaillat and all the congressmembers who have pledged their support for improving America’s library buildings," Pelayo-Lozada said, adding that the funding would "help libraries across the country provide great library spaces that serve the needs of everyone in our communities."
ALA officials are urging library supporters to contact their representatives and thank them for supporting library funding, or, if they have not yet signed on, urge them to do so.