By Debra Lau Whelan -- School Library Journal, 5/12/2009
President Obama may talk about the importance of libraries, but now that his budget is out, librarians are wondering, where’s the love?
The president is proposing a slight funding hike for public libraries through the Library Service and Technology Act (LSTA)—but he’s keeping monies for the Improving Literacy Through School libraries program at $19.1 million, the same level since 2008.
“We’re disappointed by the budget because it lacks the adequate resources that libraries require to meet the needs of the American people,” says Melanie Anderson, the American Library Association’s (ALA) associate director of the Office of Government Relations. “We’ve more than demonstrated that libraries provide important resources for their communities during this recession.”
ALA had high hopes that Obama would be more generous to libraries next year, considering the president’s comment in February that his administration had begun to go “line by line through the federal budget” to eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs and reward those that succeed.
That same month, the Department of Education(DOE) released a report saying that schools participating in the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program perform higher on state reading tests.