This week and next begins a time for critical advocacy to support libraries. We need as many members of Congress as possible to sign onto these letters for the following two programs – remember, every other group is doing the same thing we are. If we don’t advocate for libraries and library funding, the money that should be allocated to us could go to other groups who are calling in louder and higher numbers. Please call your members of Congress on the following two issues:
Congress is currently busy drafting up the federal budget for fiscal year 2011. It has never been more important than now that Congress fully funds the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the only annual source for federal funding to public libraries. As Congress writes next year’s budget they need to understand that dollars from the state and local levels are at an all time low and libraries can not continue to do their important work with out this funding.
There is a letter circulating around the House of Representatives urging the Appropriations Committee to include $300 million in funding through LSTA in the FY2011 budget. Please go to http://www.capwiz.com/ala/home/ to find out the name and number of your Representative and call his or her office and tell them about work your library does in the community. It is always a good idea to stress what programs and resources your library provide to help build the local economy, help kids with their homework, and so much more. After you have explained how libraries are an incredibly valuable investment, please ask your representative to sign onto the “Dear Colleague” letter supporting LSTA.
In his FY2011 budget, President Obama consolidated Improving Literacy Through School Libraries with five other literacy programs. This would mean that school libraries will have to directly compete with other programs to receive federal dollars under the President’s plan. However, Congress is busy drafting up their own budget for FY2011 right now, and there is no word yet if they will go along with President Obama’s recommendation of consolidation. Congress needs to hear from their constituents NOW about the important role that school libraries play in today’s schools.
Right now there is a letter circulating around the House of Representatives urging the Appropriations Committee to specifically appropriate $100 million for Improving Literacy Through School Libraries. This amount means that this program will be available to every state, rather than the current competitive grant program. Please go to http://www.capwiz.com/ala/home/ to find out the name and number of your Representative and call his or her office explaining to them how important having a school library can be in a child’s education. Please ask them to sign on to the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries “Dear Colleague.”
Once your representative or their staff confirms that they would like to sign on to the funding “Dear Colleagues,” please ask them to contact the staffers below depending on their party affiliation:
Ask them to contact Joseph Mais in Rep. Grijalva’s office and ask them to sign onto the Dear Colleague. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his phone number is (202) 225-2435.
Ask them to contact Rachel Fenton in Rep. Vernon Ehlers’ office and sign onto the Dear Colleague. Her e-mail address is Rachel.Fenton@mail.house.gov and her phone number is (202) 225-3831.
It is of the utmost importance that you contact your Representative today and urge them to sign on to these letters! We need to keep the pressure on our elected officials until the deadline for signatures on these critical letters expires. Grijalva and Ehlers plan to send the letter on Friday, March 12, so time is of the essence.