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Dangerous Liaisons - UW Libraries

March 16, 2017

IMLS Budget Cuts…What can we do?

Cassie Koldewyn

Written by Nicky Andrews

It is with disappointment, but not surprise, that I read the proposed FY 2018 budget today, which included the elimination of The Institute of Museum and Library Services.  The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums,  awarding countless grants over the last twenty years.  Since 2002, the IMLS has awarded The University of Washington grants totaling $6,029,304.00; including consistent awards to UW Libraries, The Information School, University of Washington Botanic Gardens, and The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.  

Furthermore, I have many colleagues whose MLIS education and professional development has been directly supported and encouraged by IMLS funding, including ALA Spectrum Scholars and ARL Diversity Scholars.  I first began working for UW Libraries as an ARL Career Enhancement Program Fellow – an ARL initiative funded by the IMLS.  The opportunities that have been made available to me as a result of IMLS funding have vastly shaped my education and my confidence as an information professional, and my beginning career would have been starkly different without it.  The IMLS has supported initiatives that not only support library students, but actively seek to increase diversity within the profession.The elimination of the IMLS would have a devastating impact upon library users, but also for librarians, non-credentialed staff, and those considering or seeking accreditation.  

The IMLS released a statement today, which promised that, “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”.  For those of you who, like me, may be wondering what we can do to ensure that the budget proposal is not implemented, here are a few ideas:

  • Attend National Library Legislative Day events in Olympia, or attend virtually
  • Send a message of support to Cindy Aden, the State Coordinator representing Washington State for National Library Legislative Day – (360) 704-5200; cindy.aden@sos.wa.gov
  • Sign up for the Legislative Action Center
  • Take a look at the Library Research Service tools to indicate the “return on investment” for libraries
  • Share how the IMLS has impacted your work with LIS – reach out to @us_imls on twitter, or use the hashtag #SaveIMLS
  • Join EveryLibrary in raising awareness by signing the petition to preserve funding and emailing your representatives
  • Watch for calls to action from the ALA, including a follow-up to this morning’s press release

Please share your own ideas for action as we continue to support each other, and uphold access to information for all.