I am back from vacation and putting on my ACRL Legislative Advocate hat. This is a call to action by any of you librarians, educators, or concerned citizens out there to get in touch with your Senators to ask for their support of the Library Services and Technology Act. (Find their contact info here).
Please contact your Senators and ask them to sign the "Dear Colleague" letter being circulated by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI)
and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in support of funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program.
The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is the only federal funding program exclusively for libraries. LSTA offers a variety of competitive grants available to librarians: The 21st Century Librarians Program; The National Leadership Grants; and the Native American Library Services: Enhancement Grants. Around the country, knowledgeable librarians use the flexible LSTA funding to help patrons access essential information on a wide range of topics. They offer training on résumé development; help on web searches of job banks; workshops on career information; links to essential educational and community services; assistive devices for people with disabilities; family and youth literacy classes and services; homework help and mentoring programs; access to government information; a forum for enhanced civic engagement; summer reading programs and much more. These are essential for libraries survival in these challenging economic times when our communities need library services all the more. LSTA funds help libraries provide persons of limited financial resources or who live in remote areas, access to books and reference materials, computers and the internet, and community-based social services that are often available nowhere else.
The deadline for supporting this legislation is MAY 14th!
While I did the normal thing of sending an email and filling in an online form asking for Senator Sanders and Senator Leahy's support for this legislation, I also called their offices. And let me tell you that the response I received was encouraging, friendly, and supportive. The people I spoke to appreciated my taking the time to call rather than just email. They appreciated my having some information at hand (like the deadline). So do what you can, put if you can pick up a phone as well as send a message, THANK YOU!