Saturday, February 21, 2009

Money for Libraries

Wouldn’t it be terrific if libraries became a priority in our national consciousness? Just think of the impact that would make on our children and how it would ripple out across the culture.

Now is the time to make it happen.

President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package provides a great opportunity for more library dollars and more vitality in both school and public libraries.

The bill gives $53.6 billion in to state block grants that must be spent primarily on education. The rest of the money will be spent as the governor sees fit.

We know libraries should be a top priority. It’s up to us to speak up, take action and believe that we can make a difference, that we can change the national agenda. The door is open, and it won’t stay that way for long. Find out what’s happening your state and make your voice heard.

The American Library Association (ALA) has launched a Know Your Stimulus Web site, calling it a one-stop-shop for all things related to the new law. The Web site offers advice on how to apply for library grants, has important links to other sites, and has a complete breakdown of what each state will receive under the new law.

An extra $2 billion of the stimulus package will go to Head Start, the federal early childhood development program. This money, too, could help pump life into libraries and the children’s book business. Head Start is required to collaborate with local libraries, providing storytimes and other literacy events, and promoting library cards.

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