Letter to the editor: Congress mustn’t slash libraries’ budgets


To the editor:

The U.S. federal budget released March 16 proposes the elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the only federal agency dedicated to providing support to the nation’s 119,487 libraries.

IMLS provides critical support to the nation’s libraries through funds it distributes to each state library agency. States then use those funds to 1) provide free statewide services and resources and 2) fund specific programs in local libraries that apply to the state for funds.

These monies support Adel Public Library and our community in many ways:

  • IMLS supports our Summer Reading Program, including membership in the Collaborative Summer Library Program manuals and workshops for staff. Our summer reading program is attended by more than 700 area children.
  • IMLS supports our Interlibrary Loan Program. This allows our patrons to borrow books that we do not own from other libraries in the state. We borrow more than 100 books each month at no cost for our patrons.
  • IMLS funds are used for continuing education for our library staff. Our certified staff members are required to complete continuing education to increase our knowledge of all things library related and gain resources for providing free programs for our community.
  • IMLS funds the State Library of Iowa free online databases and other resources, such as practice tests. Many ADM students use this resource to take practice tests for the ACT and SAT. Local high school and college students also use the EbscoHost online database for research papers as a resource.
  • IMLS also supports early childhood literacy training, the Iowa Center for the Book, the State Data Center and other resources provided by the State Library of Iowa.

Eliminating the $155 million that IMLS currently provides to the nation’s libraries would mean that either state and local governments would have to bear the burden of coming up with the funds or citizens and their families would lose access to these services.

For anyone who wants to learn more about how IMLS helps our state and community, visit the IMLS website. To support our libraries and IMLS, access additional resources at the I Love Libraries website.

We hope our members of Congress show their support by ensuring that IMLS is not de-funded. The $155 million libraries receive from IMLS makes up just 0.003 percent of the federal budget, yet it helps our nation and our community in countless ways.


Lori Brocka, President of the Adel Public Library Board of Trustees
Paula James, Director of the Adel Public Library
Trever Jayne, Assistant Director of the Adel Public Library
Teresa Wichtendahl, President of the Friends of Adel Public Library Foundation


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