Media coverage of cuts in the proposed federal budget unveiled by President Trump last week has focused on several well-known and important programs: the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the federal funds disbursed to Meals on Wheels. But largely overshadowed by those cuts is the proposed elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which provides funding to cultural institutions across the country.
In libraries, grants from IMLS often go to support statewide services that may not be apparent to the general public until they go missing: interlibrary loan programs, research database subscriptions, staff training, central collections of recorded books for visually impaired people, and literacy programs for all ages. In local museums the grants usually support specific projects, some of which are detailed in a tweetstorm by teen librarian Heather Booth. To see what IMLS has recently funded in your own area, check its database of awarded grants here–but be sure to look at the state level as well as local, since the library grants generally are disbursed via state libraries.
In a statement issued last week, the American Library Association vowed to “mobilize its members, Congressional library champions and the millions upon millions of people we serve in every zip code to keep those ill-advised proposed cuts from becoming a Congressional reality.” Librarians, educators, museum professionals, and concerned members of the public can find resources to support IMLS at EveryLibrary’s action page and at School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox blog.
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Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.