If you didn’t hear that Trump is planning on cutting funds to SO MANY ESSENTIAL programs, then here you go. Also, some of these essential programs include the Institute of Museum and Library Services, an important source of funding for libraries and museums in the U.S. I want to talk a little bit about IMLS today because a lot of people don’t know what it does. IMLS gives grants to libraries and museums to provide essential education and access services to patrons. This can be you the public, students at universities, museum patrons, and more.
In Massachusetts, IMLS grants help MA libraries to put on Summer Reading, perhaps the one of the most important programs many public libraries have to help combat the summer slide, and our Commonwealth Catalog, which is an easy way to request and receive books from other consortia to your home library. Looking for a book but you live in Western MA but only a library in Boston has it? The Commonwealth catalog allows you to see that book, request it, and for librarians to get it for you in about a week.
Here are some grants that IMLS has awarded to libraries and museums that I especially like:
This grant supports the Chicago Public Library’s Maker Lab which helps to educate patrons of all ages about art, engineering while giving them practical, hands-on skills.
This grant to the St. Louis Science Center – one of the best places ever! – helps support school readiness programs for kids aged 0-4.
This grant to the Boston Public Library helps to preserve the incredible John Singer Sargent murals located in their historic Copley Square Branch.
This grant to the Southern New Hampshire University helps to provide access to research about business and economic development.
IMLS gives many grants to American Indian tribes and nations in Arizona and elsewhere.
This grant gives Orange County, FL the ability to offer classes economic development class in Haitian Creole.
This grant to Clemson University helps to establish an online database of National Park information.
This grant to the Columbus Public Library helps prepare students for school as well as social, reading, and languages skills in the city’s poorest areas.
This grant allows the Houston Public Library to create mobile library “pop-ups” to combat the loss of skills over the summer.
Friends, there are hundreds of grants. Take a look and see the essential services that IMLS helps to provide. What can you find in your state and community?
So, does the thought of these programs going away because Trump and others of his ilk don’t think they are important or necessary make you full of rage? First of all, welcome to my world, and secondly, what can you do? You can all your representative and ask them to support IMLS in general and to specifically sign these “Dear Appropriator” letters which support funding to LSTA grants. If you don’t know your representative – maybe you don’t have them all in your phone like I do?! – find them here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Also you can use your public library and your museums. Tell them that you appreciate what they do. Join the Friends group at your library or buy some books from their book sale. (My local library’s book sale is this weekend and you can also donate to their teen room renovation project.)
Here’s another great article about how IMLS helps libraries, museums, and you. Yes, you personally. Do you live in MA and your kid did summer reading at the library? IMLS helped you. Fill in the blank with hundreds of other examples of that sentence. Now help IMLS and fight the Trump budget’s campaign against essential job training and education services.
And don’t even get me started on the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.