You don’t read this every day — there was great news out of Washington D.C. last week!

The fiscal year (FY) 2018 omnibus spending bill was approved by Congress, and it included a significant INCREASE in funding to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which is the source of federal funding for the nation’s museums, libraries, and library development agencies, such as the Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL).

A year ago, the American Library Association (ALA) mobilized to save IMLS funding after President Trump vowed to eliminate it from the federal FY18 budget.

Congress’ approval of the spending bill is encouraging, but it does not signal an end to the threat to federal library funding. The federal FY19 budget will likely be set by the new Congress — which may well include senators and congressmen who are unfamiliar with the value of libraries and their ever-increasing importance to their communities.

So, that means our commitment to sharing the library story must continue.

Consistent, clear, and timely communication with policymakers and funders at the local, state, and federal levels is critical to keeping the library message on the minds of those who vote on the legislation and funding that impact Idaho’s libraries.

The IMLS funding, which is disseminated through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), is administered by the ICfL for the state of Idaho. The LSTA funds and the mandated state matching funds support virtually all of the statewide programs and services the ICfL provides to Idaho libraries. Loss of federal funding would fundamentally change the impact the ICfL could make for the more than 850 public, school, academic, and special libraries located throughout the Gem State.

For more information about IMLS funding, visit the ALA website:….