Oh hey, it’s me, back from the (online) dead to once again ask you all to please contact your representatives to ask them to fund libraries. You may remember that I wrote a similar post back in 2017 when Trump previously tried to defund LSTA grants and eliminate the Institute for Museum and Libraries. It’s happening again!
IMLS is the main source of federal support for libraries and museums. Through grants, it funds essential programs throughout the country. If you’re curious as to what these grants do, take a look on their website.
Like I did in 2017, I’ll list some grant recipients’ programs that I think are super cool and again, essential. These grants range from a few thousand dollars to many thousand dollars and help fund special programs to essential needs like wages and materials.
- In 2016, the Hartford Public Library (CT) received $600,000.00 to “develop an interdisciplinary curriculum for immigrant and refugee youth, ages 17-21, focused on English language acquisition, digital/information literacy skills, leadership development, cultural competency, and social action.” Awesome!
- In 2018, the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library (MA) received $72,000.00 to “teach high school students to use maps and spatial data as tools for advocacy and change.” Super cool! (Also, read The Map Thief if you want to learn a little bit more about the Leventhal Map Center and devious map thievery. The Leventhal didn’t do the thievery, FYI!)
- In 2018, the Morton Arboretum (IL) received $250,000.00 to “document, evaluate, and manage the conservation value of four of its highest priority collections of living plants: oak, crabapple, elm, and linden.” I’ve been here and it’s awesome and beautiful.
- In 2017, the Ak-Chin Indian Community (AZ) received $13,000.00 to “promote the Community Library as a strong anchor that enhances civic engagement by improving access to the Library and its service via the Read & Roll (Bike Bookmobile). The Read & Roll will provide reliable and flexible library services to community members, residents, and employees who are unable to visit the Library on a regular basis so as to increase circulation, attendance at Library and Community events, and facilitate education about library services and educational programming.” IMLS supports lots of tribal and Indian libraries who especially need funds.
- In 2018, the Dayton Metro Library (OH) received $25,000.00 to “extend its successful “Love Them Out Loud” (LTOL) kits, with the design, development and creation of an early literacy kit for children ages 24-48 months. Informed by area health partners, literacy experts, librarians, educators, and designers, the kits will include picture books, educational toys, and early learning resources for parents.” Early literacy and education is SO IMPORTANT and not everyone has the resources to buy these materials on their own!
- In 2017, Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo (TX) received $7,000.00 to “support existing library operations and maintain core library services provided to members of their community in El Paso, TX. This work supports costs in areas of salaries, wages, supplies, and materials. Additionally, this project supports tribal library staff to attend library-related continuing education events.” This money goes to keep the library in this community RUNNING.
- In 2018, the Saginaw Chippewa (MI) Indian tribe received $10,000.00. There’s no information about what these money was used for via the Native American Library Services program but I went to high school in this area and I’m sure it was put to good use for the community!
So you want to tell your representatives to support libraries? You can ask them to sign “Dear Appropriator Letters.” These letters help the government decide where to put money. You can track if your legislator has already signed on by checking here.
Finally, after you’ve done this and wonder what else you can do to help libraries? Use them! Make sure your library card is active. Sometimes you can apply online for them! Most libraries have digital resources like Overdrive and Hoopla for ebooks and e-audiobooks, Kanopy for streaming movies, and more databases that you can use from home! Some libraries have “things” you can borrow like a telescope, ukulele, or expensive tools. Libraries have programs for all ages! Programs that help combat the “summer slide,” help people find jobs, find consumer information, and learn about culture, nature, current events, and more! If there’s something you’re interested in, I bet your local library has a book, movie, program, or online service that you help you learn more about that topic. And if they don’t, they’ll find something for you!
Want to talk about why libraries are important? Don’t think libraries are important? Talk to me!