US public library leaders are disappointed with their share of the federal budget for fiscal year 2022 signed into law last week by President Joe Biden, according to Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.
Signed into law on March 11, the reconciled FY2022 budget—which covers federal spending since October 1, 2021—includes $197.4 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).
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“LSTA funding is the primary source of federal funding dedicated to America’s libraries and it is administered through grants to states,” Albanese explains.
“The $197 million seems a paltry sum in a $1.5 trillion bill and is essentially flat funding,” says Albanese.
Librarians argue that with rising inflation and continued economic volatility and uncertainty as the country emerges from the pandemic, flat funding is essentially a cut.
“What’s especially disappointing to librarians is that last summer the House of Representatives approved a $9 million increase, which the Senate stripped out in the final bill,” Albanese tells me.