Library Funding in Jeopardy
MO Secretary of State, Jay Ashcroft, says that libraries "expand opportunity and unleash potential" in their communities. This year, funding for Missouri libraries faces deep cuts at both the state and federal levels. State funding, through the state library, and federal funding, through the IMLS, helps libraries provide adequate internet connections, materials, and many other services that our communities need.
What is IMLS and what does it do?
IMLS may be just another acronym to many people. However, the Institute of Museum and Library Services is very important to CCPL, Missouri libraries, and libraries across the country. The IMLS is the only federal agency charged with providing critical support to our nation’s museums and libraries. IMLS provides funding to state libraries through the Library Service and Technology Act (LSTA). Of the $155 million the IMLS provides for library services, Missouri libraries receive $2.9 million. The president’s proposed FY2018 budget calls for the elimination of funding for many independent agencies, including IMLS. Without that funding, the Missouri State Library could not offer grant funding for collection development, early literacy initiatives, technology upgrades, reliable internet connections, and more. Cass County Public Library has been able to provide those services because of IMLS funding.
What is the Missouri State Library?
The Missouri State Library promotes the development and improvement of library services throughout the state, provides direct library and information service in support of the executive and legislative branches of Missouri state government, and strives to ensure all Missourians have equal access to library services. It is also responsible for maintaining the Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library. The Missouri Constitution specifies that funds will be appropriated each year to support public libraries. A large portion of those funds are appropriated specifically for internet connections and technical support, which many libraries could not afford otherwise.
Why does it matter to Cass County?
The Missouri State Library awards IMLS funding to local libraries for service improvements. Cass County Public Library has received funding and grants through this process to help us serve you, our patrons, better.
- Some of these improvements include:
- The construction and improvement of the computer lab at the Harrisonville branch
- Laptops available for checkout
- Early literacy computers for children
- Funding for enriching programs and materials for our Summer Reading Program
- Purchasing new materials, both physical and digital, for patrons to use
- Research databases and online resources to assist students, job seekers, researchers, and lifelong learners
We provide the best service that we can with the resources we have. Elimination of the IMLS will make it exceedingly harder to provide patrons with services that are needed.
Why should it matter to you?
We strive to unleash the potential in Cass County by offering computer classes, materials, and internet access for those who cannot access it on their own. Many people rely on libraries for the tools to improve their skills, educate themselves with reliable resources, and broaden their horizons. A skilled workforce and educated populace is essential. Without funding, libraries, including Cass County Public Library, cannot provide adequate internet connections, materials, and other services that their communities need.
Cass County Public Library provides a strong return on investment. For every $1.00 that a Cass County resident pays, they receive nearly $4.00 in library services. Those services are in danger of being reduced or eliminated.
Let your legislators know the positive impact that Missouri libraries have in our communities, and how much they mean to you. To find your representatives and senators, visit http://casscolibrary.org/guide/government#County.