Just over halfway into his first 100 days, President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating virtually all federal funds for libraries. And librarians this week said they will fight back.
In a statement, the American Library Association called Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services in his FY2018 budget (effectively ending all federal funding for libraries of all kinds) “counterproductive and short-sighted,” and vowed to fight the measure.
“The American Library Association will mobilize its members, Congressional library champions, and the millions upon millions of people we serve in every zip code to keep those ill-advised proposed cuts from becoming a Congressional reality,” the statement reads. “Libraries leverage the tiny amount of federal funds they receive through their states into an incredible range of services for virtually all Americans everywhere to produce what could well be the highest economic and social ROI [return on investment] in the entire federal budget.”
As had been expected for almost two months, President Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, released this week, also eliminates funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institutes of Museum and Library Services. The NEA and NEH had both received about $148 million in funding, while the IMLS budget was $230 million.
In mid-January, The Hill reported that the Trump administration planned to take the axe to a host of domestic programs in order to raise military funding by 10% (or $54 billion).