[library-media] Stimulus Package- American Libraries Update Forwarded
dmorris at utah.gov
Fri Feb 20 19:53:15 MST 2009
Thanks to ALA for keeping us all up to date. Good luck - I look forward to some of the money going to Utah school libraries. Donna
"Stimulus Package Funds Libraries as Agents for Change
The $787-billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Obama February 17 includes several economic-stimulus provisions that could directly benefit libraries, notes the American Library Association's Washington Office:
--$7.2 billion to increase broadband access and usage in unserved and underserved areas of the nation, including $200 million in competitive grants for expanding public-computer capacity at public libraries and community colleges. This includes $650 million for DTV, $90 million of which may be used by organizations, including libraries, for education and outreach to vulnerable populations;
--$53.6 billion for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, including $39.5 billion to local school districts using existing funding formulas; among the permissible uses is school modernization, which could benefit school libraries; $5 billion to states as bonus grants for meeting key performance measures in education; and $8.8 billion to states for high-priority needs such as public safety and other critical services, which may include public libraries and the modernization, renovation, and repairs of the facilities of public schools and institutions of higher education;
--An additional $120 million for the Senior Community Service Program to provide community service jobs at nonprofit and public facilities, including libraries, to 24,000 older Americans;
--An additional $130 million for the Rural Community Facilities Program to provide loans and grants for rural community facilities, including libraries.
Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff cited librarians' role in shaping the legislation: After an amendment was introduced in the Senate that would have stripped the broadband funding for libraries, an alert from ALA generated over 1,200 phone calls in three hours, helping convince legislators to retain the provision.
Explaining that governors will have great discretion in how to spend the stimulus, Sheketoff told American Libraries that librarians "need to start talking to their governors to make sure the governors know to direct funds to libraries." She added that the Washington Office has set up a website (www.ala.org/knowyourstimulus) to provide information on how librarians can benefit from the stimulus.
ALA President Jim Rettig said that although the final version of the legislation did not contain all the provisions that libraries had wanted, many opportunities remain for libraries to deliver much-needed services. "Working through this expansive and vitally important piece of legislation was no easy task for Congress and the White House, and I am grateful to see libraries are included in this effort to put our nation on the road to recovery," he said. "I believe we now have a responsibility to reach out to our governors and state officials to highlight the funding available to libraries through this bill and to advocate that investing that funding in libraries is a wise and efficient use of taxpayer dollars during this difficult economic time."
Before signing the bill, President Obama said that the building of libraries, along with 21st-century classrooms and labs, as "making the largest investment in education in our nation's history" because "America can't out-compete the world tomorrow if our children are being out-educated today."
Donna Jones Morris, State Librarian
Director, Utah State Library Division
250 N 1950 W, Suite A
Salt Lake City Ut 84116-7901
801-715-6770 (phone) 801-715-6767 (fax)
dmorris at utah.gov
"Beginning August 4, 2008, state agencies' hours of operation are Monday - Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and closed on Friday"
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