As you should have heard by now—come on, even Cosmo is reporting on it—the current President’s proposed budget cuts include eliminating all funding for the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS). I don’t need to tell you what this means. I don’t need to tell you that libraries aren’t dead. I don’t need to tell you to call your representative, or post on social media in resistance. YALSA is already doing that, along with ALSC and ALA. I am so proud to be a member of each of them.
Instead, I need to tell you about what I have learned because of these calls to action. I need to write out for myself what I thought I already knew but really didn’t comprehend: the IMLS matters. It matters so much.
- In 2016, the IMLS gave 2.2 million dollars to the state of Oregon.
- One of the ways this money is used is for LSTA grants, which are given to specific projects based on these priorities. These are projects that usually fall outside the normal operations of a library.
- One of Oregon’s most beloved programs, the Oregon Battle of the Books, started out because of an LSTA grant ($10,000) but is now permanently funded by the Oregon State Library because of testimonials of participants.
- In 2012, Multnomah County Library used IMLS funds ($45,420) to make its spanish storytime program, “Listos Para Aprender,” more culturally appropriate.
- The IMLS has also funded OSLIS, access to government information, tech-based staff development, the State Library, tribal libraries, OMSI, the Portland Children’s Museum, the Museum of the Oregon Territory, the High Desert Museum, and so much more!
Use this search box to find out what projects have been funded through IMLS in your state. If your library, like mine, doesn’t appear to have used IMLS funds, then dig a little deeper. Look at the state library’s distribution to other libraries. Our library used a $37,100.00 sub-grant back in 2011 for our Storytime-To-Go program, which is now thriving.
Or, maybe your library really hasn’t used IMLS funds. But look at these libraries that have. Think about those dream projects you might be able to complete if the IMLS stays. #SaveIMLS. Really. We need it.