The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the U.S. economy, and our nation’s libraries are no exception. Libraries across the country are reporting drastic budget cuts, making it harder to serve their communities when Americans need them most. That’s why library advocates are calling on legislators to sign the Library Stabilization Fund Act, which would provide crucial financial relief to keep our libraries strong. The bill is the best—and likely, last—chance for America’s libraries to be included in federal relief.
Amid the unprecedented coronavirus crisis, libraries have found powerful ways to help their communities while maintaining social distancing. They’re connecting job seekers with free career resources, keeping students engaged with virtual storytimes and summer reading, providing hunger relief to those who need it, and expanding free Wi-Fi access using bookmobiles and parking lots. The pandemic may have disrupted traditional, in-person library services, but libraries are still hard at work meeting their communities’ needs. As libraries cautiously reopen, they are facing added expenses of PPE, cleaning, plexiglass shields, and more.
The current COVID-19 relief packages have left libraries out. Meanwhile, city and state governments are facing hard choices about how to spend limited resources. Now is the time for federal leaders to step in and provide libraries resources to ensure they can continue to offer transformative services during the pandemic and beyond. The Library Stabilization Fund Act, sponsored by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representative Andy Levin (D-MI), would allocate $2 billion in emergency recovery funding specifically for America’s 117,000 libraries and 370,000 library workers.
Want to keep libraries strong? Contact your Senators and Representative and ask them to cosponsor the Library Stabilization Fund Act.
For more information about the Library Stabilization Fund Act, visit the American Library Association website.