The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee marked up (voted on) its FY 2012 bill Tuesday afternoon on at 10-8 party-line vote. This funding bill, which is scheduled to be marked up in the full Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday afternoon, contains federal support for school libraries.
The report language of this bill sets aside $30 million for national non-profit organizations or school libraries in high-need areas. Furthermore, at least 50 percent of this $30 million must be used for school libraries.
This restoration of funding for school libraries comes as a huge victory since the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program was zero-funded in FY 2011; however, the fight is still not over. School libraries fared better than many other programs, but the next stage of the legislative process will prove critical in securing this funding for FY2012. Please continue to put pressure on your senators and representatives to support school libraries.
More information will be made available after Wednesday’s mark-up.
On the LSTA front…
This bill also level funds (or funds at last year’s level) the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) at $189 million – another victory for libraries during this time when many in Congress are looking to make budget cuts.