Earlier this month, the White House released President Trump’s proposed 2020 fiscal year budget, entailed ‘A Budget for a Better America’. Coming in to the tune of $4.75 trillion, it’s actually the largest budget proposed in US history and, if enacted, will see a steep decline in domestic and social programs in favour of military spending.
For the third year in a row, Trump’s budget has proposed the permanent closure of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which serves as an independent federal agency, providing library and museum grants, policy development, and research. The elimination of the IMLS would end any and all federal funding of public libraries and would also cut funding to the Department of Education by 10%, which would include support for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program.
Despite promising protection for social programs throughout his 2016 campaign, the 2020 budget proposal would see deep cuts for Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. While these areas would see cuts, the Department of Defense’s budget would see a $34 billion increase, including $8.6 billion for Trump’s infamous wall.
Though Trump’s administration has pushed for federal funded libraries, there has been bipartisan support in Congress for the IMLS over the past two years’ budget debates. The American Library Association (ALA), president Loida Garcia-Febo said in a statement that Congressional support provides hope. “Elected decision-makers, including appropriators in both the House and Senate, agree that funding IMLS programs such as the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is a sound investment and that to cut funding for libraries is to undercut opportunity for their constituents,” she said.
With help from the ALA, and library community advocacy, funding for libraries has remained level over the past two years. Garcia-Febo has stated that the ALA will continue to fight to protect libraries in the face of Trump’s cuts in funding. “ALA members will continue to highlight the value of libraries to our elected leaders in every U.S. congressional district,” she said “We are confident that the 116th Congress will support the federal programs that invest in our communities.”
If you wish to learn more about the ALA’s #FundLibraries campaign, or want to contact your members of Congress, you can do so here.