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Act Now: Museum and Library Services Act of 2017

S. 2271, the Museum and Library Services Act of 2017, was introduced by Senator Reed (D-RI) on Thursday, December 21st in the United States Senate. Senator Lisa Murkowski, an original co-sponsor of the measure, said, “I am a huge fan of libraries and museums. They enrich our communities, engage Americans of all ages in continued learning, increase economic opportunities, and sustain our values and cultures. The Museum and Library Services Act will help to strengthen the already amazing libraries and museums across Alaska. I am proud to introduce this bill with Senator Reed as it will help Alaska’s diverse libraries and museums advance, further enable the professionals and volunteers who dedicate their energies to these institutions, and improve services for their patrons. I am grateful to Senator Reed for including recommendations from Alaska’s library and museum community and for including provisions that expand support for and consultation with tribal libraries and museums.”

This act reauthorizes federal support for libraries and museums through the Institute of Museum and Library Services. IMLS awards the Alaska State Library $950K each year. These federal funds are used for Alaska Mail Services; the 800# ILL Backup Service; Talking Books for visually impaired Alaskans; databases on SLED; the director of the Alaska Library Network; the Ready to Read Resource Center; continuing education reimbursement grants for public and school libraries; a mix of training workshops for libraries; and a variety of smaller grants made to individual libraries.

What you can do:

1. Thank Senator Murkowski for her co-sponsorship of this bill. You may want to mention how these federal funds have impacted your library, which receives support through the services listed above. We are lucky to have her support as this bill starts its legislative journey. The Senator’s email form is at: https://www.murkowski.senate.gov/contact/email

2. Ask Senator Sullivan to vote for S. 2271 when it arrives in the Senate. The Senator’s email form is at: https://www.sullivan.senate.gov/contact/email

3. Ask Representative Young to vote on the forthcoming house companion bill to S. 2271. The Representative’s email form is at: https://donyoung.house.gov/forms/writeyourrep/

Remember, the passage of a bill is a marathon, not a sprint. This is the first step in a marathon to continue federal support of libraries and museums.

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