Here is the email discussion started on March 22, 2017 by Joseph Egan about the effects of the possible budget coming out of Washington. Please feel free to join it with additional comments or supporting materials.
Dear committee and round table members:
ALA Executive Board member Andrew Pace has compiled some brief notes about ALA's advocacy plan to save our libraries and our library services from the cuts and the elimination of some vital federal ibrary programs in President Trump's proposed budget. I am sharing these notes with you with his permission.
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Andrew Pace email@example.com>
Date: Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 2:22 PM
Subject: FW: Trump budget
I've participated this week in 2 calls with ALA leadership, Division leaders, and ALA Affiliates. Below are the notes I took regarding actions around the Trump budget. President Todaro will be sending out much more detailed notes, but I thought you all might appreciate my version (it's actually a little shorter!)
ALA Leadership and the ALA Washington Office held conference calls with elected Division leaders, Division Executive Directors, ALA Affiliates, and ALA Executive Board Members to lay out the broad strokes of a plan to combat the proposed budget sent to Congress by the Trump administration. I participated in both of these calls, Friday, March 17 and Monday, March 20. Here are a few notes.
Trump has submitted what's referred to as a "skinny budget." It is light on specificity. In some instances, there's clarity of the cuts (e.g. IMLS); in others, large cuts are proposed to certain areas (e.g., Education) but it's unclear if the cuts would impact libraries (e.g., ESSA).
Emily Sheketoff described this as losing a battle in what is going to be a very long war. But ALA has every expectation of some success. In an effort to not spread itself too thinly, ALA has decided to focus on two areas where libraries are the sole stakeholder in ensuring victory. ALA and libraries are the only organizations standing up for school libraries and for LSTA. ALA will funnel its activities to these two areas, namely by focusing on funding for Innovative Approaches to Literacy and the IMLS.
Every budget cycle, ALA coordinates the drafting of a "Dear Appropriator" letter. They start with key supporters in the House and Senate and then get as many signatories as they can, basically saying "We the undersigned want this area funded in the budget." So far, ALA has Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) in the House, and Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate; they expect many more to sign on. The goal is an overwhelming list of signatories.
Here's a timeline of how things play out:
- President submits his budget to Congress (March)
- Dear Appropriator letters sent to House Appropriations Committee (April 3)
- Dear Appropriator letters sent to Senate Appropriations Committee (late April)
- Congressional recess week of April 10 and April 17, with a goal to get as many members of the House and Senate into libraries as possible to see the work of libraries first hand.
- Continuing Resolution to fund the Govt ends in April. Congress will have to vote to extend the CR or the Government will shut down
- Library Legislative Day (May 1-2): a literal measure of success for this campaign is Hill offices calling the ALA WO and asking them to tell members to stop calling
- Congressional Appropriation Hearings for the rest of the year
- Meetings on the Budget subcommittee
- Budget goes to the floor of the House
- Conference Committee between House and Senate
According to the Washington Office, the best chances for ensuring budgets for IMLS and Innovative Approaches to Literacy are early on. After the budget goes to the HHS Labor sub-committee, there's little chance of making changes for or against a budget request.
The Washington Office will be publishing a detailed calendar of events very soon. This site has a lot of information already: http://www.districtdispatch.org/2017/03/presidents-budget-proposal-eliminate-federal-library-funding/
Some activities already planned:
- ACRL will be doing a postcard campaign at the meeting this month.
- Cengage Learning is reaching out to the library business community to promote Dear Appropriator letters; Exhibits Round Table is helping get the word out to vendors.
- IMLS is already pulling data together to show money spent and impact in libraries