Like most of you, I've been following the budget developments at the national and state level closely, with a great deal of concern. Locally, LD256 might have far reaching effects for our state in the way we support libraries online. We need to pay close attention to the details to ensure the MSLN remains adequately funded, and to be certain no other online offerings are endangered.
And then there's the deep cuts proposed by President Trump. He's called for the elimination of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The one bright spot for me in this is that these proposals are simply that: proposals. We have already heard from Senator Collins' office that she intends to continue her strong support of LSTA.
The LSTA program brings real benefits to Maine. You can find them listed here: https://www.imls.gov/grants/grants-state/state-profiles/maine
Please see the letter from ALA President Julie Todaro for more information on what we can do on the national level: http://ala.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT02NDE5NjUxJnA9MSZ1PTEwMDc1MjQyNTYmbGk9NDIyMzcxNzU/index.html
More information can also be found here: http://www.districtdispatch.org/2017/03/house-library-champions-release-fy18-dear-appropriator-letters/
I will be attending Library Legislative Day in Washington DC this year, along with Jamie Ritter and other Maine librarians. It will be important to be fully aware of the issues at play, and to coordinate our efforts with other agencies and organizations so that we can be heard at the highest levels of government. This coming Tuesday, I'll be on a conference call with the heads of all state chapters of ALA, discussing what can be done and how it can best be accomplished.
For now, know that we at MLA are following this closely, and we're communicating with our friends and allies across the country to make sure the needs of libraries are met, and (more importantly) the needs of our patrons. If you're looking for something you can do today, a short phone call to your Congressperson would never hurt. But please realize this might well be a long process. A marathon, not a sprint. We'll need continuing support in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
Maine Library Association