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President’s Budget includes Elimination of Institute of Museum and Library Services

On March 16, 2017, President Donald Trump released his preliminary budget proposal which includes the elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS is an independent federal agency that provides Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants to library agencies in all 50 states, including the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC).

In FY2017, the MBLC received $3,220,591 through LSTA funding. This funding goes to statewide resources including the Commonwealth Catalog, the Digital Commonwealth, The Commonwealth eBook Collections, the Consumer Portal, and the Statewide Summer Library Program. Additionally, the MBLC awards individual grants to libraries for special programming. In 2016, the MBLC awarded $309,453 in 34 grants to public and academic libraries across the Commonwealth for use in meeting specific local community needs. Examples of these grants include programs for citizenship, STEM and STEAM, preservation assessments, health and financial literacy, and services for the disabled.

“IMLS funding is so vital to the MBLC’s mission and the sustainability of libraries in the 21st century” said MBLC Director Dianne Carty. “Whether it is a STEM program in Pittsfield, a ESOL class in Watertown, or someone using the Commonwealth Catalog to find a book they need, LSTA funding through IMLS impacts all residents, and the Massachusetts library community would be decimated without it.”

IMLS is currently being funded through a continuing resolution that goes until April 28, 2017. Additional legislation is needed for funding to continue after April 28.

The budget released is only a preliminary outline of what the President proposes. Congress will now begin work on crafting its own budget. Budgets must be approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate before they can be enacted. The next fiscal year begins on October 1, 2017.

In a press release, Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew said “As Congress now begins its work on the FY 2018 budget, our agency will continue to work closely with the Office of Management and Budget. More importantly, we will continue to remain steadfast in our work on behalf of the millions of Americans touched by the services of libraries and museums each day.”

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Institure of Museum and Library Services