Margaret Woodruff, Charlotte Library
No doubt you’ve heard about the threats to funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Of equal concern, especially here in Vermont, is the threat to funding for library services. According to the American Library Association, “The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is the only federal program exclusively for libraries. It is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). State libraries use the funds to support statewide initiatives and also distribute the funds through subgrants or cooperative agreements to public, school, academic, research, and special libraries.”
While this may seem remote to Charlotte library users, here are some of the programs and services that LSTA dollars support at our library:
- Access to downloadable ebooks and audiobooks through Green Mountain Library Consortium
- Resource sharing, both interlibrary loan facilitation and special services for blind and visually impaired
- Continuing education for library staff, promoting the best service for library patrons
- Literacy initiatives including the summer reading program and the early literacy projects with Vermont
- Center for the Book
- Databases and digital learning opportunities for Vermonters seeking employment, education and advancement.
These programs are invaluable to the Vermonters who need them, and the resulting benefits to our community are essential for our state to thrive and grow. Our own library has stories to tell that demonstrate the need for these services, from the preschooler who developed early aptitude for math in STEM storytimes to the middle-aged college student who sharpened study and reading skills online.
So what should we all do about this? We invite, encourage and urge you to contact Representative Peter Welch and ask him to sign the “Dear Appropriator” letters supporting the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. His phone number is ( 202) 225-4115.
In addition, we invite you to join Chittenden County librarians for a pre-Library Legislation Day event on Saturday, April 29. We plan to march up Church Street in Burlington to demonstrate the strength and support of Vermont Libraries. If you’re interested in participating, please contact Margaret Woodruff at the library, (802) 425-3864.
We thank you for your continued support for the Charlotte Library. We welcome any suggestions and ideas you want to share so we can keep the conversation and support alive and ongoing.