House and Senate appropriations hearings on the FY 2003 budget requests for federal agencies are underway, and AALL will be issuing alerts for key agencies as needed throughout the coming months. Please respond now to this important call for action and feel free to forward this message to your colleagues. Thank you.
President Bush's proposed budget for FY 2003 includes a request of $210.7 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)--of which $181.7 million is for the Office of Library Services. This proposed budget for libraries includes:
- $151.4 million for state grants to libraries. These LSTA grants support the core functions of all types of libraries and benefit members of every community across our nation by providing equitable access to information resources.
- $3 million in grants for Native American library services. These grants provide for developing technology and information access skills, reading and literacy in communities that lack basic resources and services.
- $11 million for national leadership grants. These competitive grants provide vital funding for innovative projects in the research and development of new technologies and the digitization and preservation of new and unique information resources.
- $10 million for the recruitment and education of new librarians for the 21st century.
The $10 million budget request to recruit and train a new generation of librarians was announced by First Lady Laura Bush late last year. If approved by Congress, IMLS will be able to launch a crucial new initiative:
- to fund scholarships and fellowships in Masters and PhD programs to train the next generation of librarians;
- to recruit into the profession individuals with diverse language and technical skills;
- and to develop new distance education training programs to reach those in underserved rural areas.
Dr. Robert Martin, Director of IMLS, appeared today before the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education of the House Appropriations Committee. In his statement, Dr. Martin emphasized "that libraries and museums are both social agencies of public education," indispensable to our democracy and to lifelong learning. Addressing the critical need for the new funding to support training and recruitment programs, he noted that librarianship has one of the highest median ages of any occupation (47 years-old) and according to Census data, more than one-quarter of all librarians with masters degrees will turn 65 before 2009.
Congressional support for full funding of the IMLS programs in FY 2003 is crucial to the future of our nation's 122,000 libraries--both for library grants and for the new training initiative. The funding bills for IMLS are now before the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees. Please contact your Senators and representative today through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or fax them a short note (avoid snail mail because of the current difficulties in getting letters to members in a timely manner).
Ask your representatives to call the subcommittee chairmen and ranking members listed below, urging them to approve the full FY 2003 funding requested of $210.7 million for the IMLS. Be sure to stress the critical need for the new $10 million initiative to train and recruit library professionals for the 21st century.
Mary Alice Baish, AALL Associate Washington Affairs Representative
Anne E. Burnett, Chair, AALL Government Relations Committee
Joyce A. McCray Pearson, Chair, AALL Law Librarian Recruitment Committee
House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education
Chairman: Rep. Ralph Regula (R-16-OH)
Ranking Member: Rep. David R. Obey (D-7-WI)
Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education
Chairman: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Ranking Member: Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)