As you may have heard, the President’s budget proposal eliminates funding to cultural programs. Among them are the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which administers the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These support state libraries and comprise the only federal funding libraries receive. Many of the most important services our excellent New Hampshire State Library (NHSL) offers come from this program.
If this funding is removed, Jackson Library users would directly feel the impact. Here are some of the services our patrons enjoy thanks to the state library (in some cases we cost-share. The NHSL administers services and/or negotiates contacts that we can buy into):
- the state-wide catalog and the interlibrary loan system that allows us to borrow books from any other Library in the state for individuals and for book groups,
- the van system that transports library materials efficiently among NH libraries. This is how we get the items we ask for via interlibrary loan,
- Ebsco research databases providing access to hundreds of academic, popular, and school level periodicals, newspapers, and other publications,
- Downloadable audiobooks, ebooks, and magazines via New Hampshire Downloadable Books and Overdrive,
- a full time technology librarian who offers training, consulting, and assistance in technology throughout the State,
- a children and youth services consultant,
- so many other programs and initiatives that it is difficult to even keep track of them all.
These cuts would effectively strip the NHSL of the ability to offer any of these services. They would disappear and bringing them back would take years. If you have ever asked Meredith, Lisa, or me for a certain book and we cheerfully offered to “borrow it for you from another library,” then you have used these services. If you have come in for help downloading books to your tablet, then you have used these services. Please help spread the word and please phone our Representatives. I just did it and it’s easy!
I can tell you that as of this morning, Carol Shea Porter (202-225-5456) has come out to support Libraries, please phone her to thank her for signing the Dear Appropriator letter for LSTA. Anne McLane Kuster (202-225-5206) has not yet signed. Please phone her and simply ask her to sign the Dear Appropriator letter for LSTA.
I will continue to offer information about this over the next weeks and months.