by Carol Henderson

Deputy Director ALA Washington Office

If all the proposals outlined in President Reagan's fiscal year 1983 budget should be enacted by Congress there would be no federal role in support of libraries. The list of programs proposed for zero funding and termination is extensive: Higher Education Act II-A grants for college library resources and networking, HEA II-B library training and library research and demonstrations, HEA II-C grants for major research libraries, the Library Services and Construction Act public library services and interlibrary cooperation, and the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. The elementary and secondary education block grant which includes school libraries would be cut severely, then turned back to the states and phased out. Some cuts in library funds already appropriated for FYT82 were also proposed, including the entire $1,920,000 for college libraries. The Education Department would be downgraded to a much smaller Foundation for Education Assistance.

In response to requests at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Denver for a plan of action to protest this disastrous budget, the February 9 ALA Washington Newsletter suggested a massive campaign of letters and visits to every Representative and Senator with a very simple message—don't cut FY 1982 library funds, and reject the FY 1983 budget for library programs— backed up by specific data or "for instances" on the impact of the proposed cuts. This campaign has three components:

(1) Everyone—librarians, faculty, students, researchers, friends,

White House Conference participants—should write immediately.

Write to your own legislators to protest the budget for the program(s) you know best.

(2) This is the time to activate association and chapter legislation networks. Spread the word to others to write letters. Organize a representative group of library supporters for all types of libraries to visit the home offices of Members of Congress. In an election year (all House seats and 1/3 of Senate seats will be up for election), they will be home often; there is a recess scheduled for April 7-19. Or send a small group to Washington for the annual Legislative Day on April 20 of National Library Week.

(3) Data on the expected impact of wiping out library programs, or "for instances" on services not provided or improvements not made are needed by your legislators and by the ALA Wahsington Office. Incorporate such material into your letters to make them more effective and send blind copies to the ALA Washington Office, 110 Maryland Avenue, N.E., Box 54, Washington, D.C. 20002 (202/547-4440).

Copyright © American Library Association

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