Library Matters / Libraries Matter: IMLS

Posted on February 13th, 2018 by

Like many professional organizations, libraries are famous (notorious?) for their use of acronyms: ILS, RDA, OCLC, ACRL, ALA….The list goes on and on. (No, seriously, it does!)

One of the most important acronyms, and one that has been in the news recently, is IMLS, which stands for the Institute of Museum and Library Services. IMLS is the primary way that the federal government supports and funds libraries and museums across the nation.

The President’s FY 2019 budget request to Congress, submitted on Monday, essentially eliminates IMLS.

We’re saddened by this. We’re angered by it. As library professionals with wide-ranging backgrounds in various types of libraries, we know firsthand the great work that IMLS does to help people all across our country.

In a statement, IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew outlines what’s at stake:

Without IMLS funding for museums and libraries, it would be more difficult for many people to gain access to the internet, continue their education, learn critical research skills, and find employment.

In a world awash in fake news and alternative facts, we need an informed and educated citizenry more than ever.

We’ve benefited directly from IMLS funding, too; in 1999, the Gustavus Library received an IMLS grant to develop an instruction program that teaches sophisticated research skills to students throughout their entire college careers. We were the first liberal arts college to receive such a grant.¬†Thanks to IMLS, we are able to help Gusties learn the research skills necessary for both college-level work and lifelong learning.

We’re not telling you how, when or if to take action. But we encourage you to learn more about IMLS, all the essential work it does, and what happens if it goes away.

This post is part of the Library Matters/Libraries Matter blog series



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