Library Advocates Connect with Congress

Representatives of the Wyoming Library Association (WLA) are traveling to Washington, D.C., in May to discuss key library issues with the state’s Congressional delegation as part of the American Library Association’s 43rd annual National Library Legislative Day on May 1-2.

Janice Grover-Roosa, Director of the Western Wyoming Community College Hay Library, and Ivan Gaetz, Dean of the University of Wyoming Libraries, will meet with Representative Cheney and Senators Barrasso and Enzi on May 2 to discuss key library issues, including funding of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

President Donald Trump’s proposed America First budget calls for the elimination of the IMLS and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to States program that the agency administers. Each year, the Wyoming State Library receives approximately $900,000 in LSTA funds that support library services throughout the state.

Wyoming State Librarian Jamie Markus will accompany Grover-Roosa and Gaetz to provide information on how federal money is used in Wyoming. The shared catalog (WYLDCAT) and online resources that include ebooks, research databases, career training, and genealogy are among the many services currently supported by the annual LSTA grant.

A fact sheet on the State Library’s website provides a detailed list of federally-funded services. Because Wyoming uses its LSTA funds for statewide projects, every patron or student at any of the state’s 23 county libraries, more than 250 school libraries, seven community colleges, and the University of Wyoming Libraries could feel the effects.

“Library directors from around the state have been fielding concerns from librarians about how a loss in national funding would impact local services around the state,” said Grover-Roosa. “We’re doing our best to answer questions based on what we know and not jump to any conclusions. Whatever the outcome may be, our residents can count on their librarians to help them access what they’re looking for.”

The WLA representatives will be among more than 500 library advocates registered to attend National Library Legislative Day — a record-breaking number this year, according to the American Library Association. Those who can’t travel to D.C. have the option of participating in Virtual Library Legislative Day and connect with their legislators by phone calls, emails, and social media platforms.

Library advocates who aren’t traveling to D.C. are invited to participate in Virtual Library Legislative Day to connect with Congress from home.

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