Monday, March 30, 2015

Open Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives in Support of IMLS

I am outraged by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's proposal to eliminate IMLS and I urge you to stand against it. As our nation's strongest funder for museum and library initiatives, IMLS has an important role to play in supporting our nation's freedom, innovation, and success.

Libraries work to digitize our nation's resources through programs such as the DPLA that are providing a bridge to the future by upgrading information to new formats.  They support 21st century invention and learning through new makerspaces and by helping to facilitate the exchange of ideas. Libraries support the freedom of information for all, which is vital to any democracy. They support strong communities and help our children's understanding of good digital citizenship. They provide a safe and supportive place for those less fortunate, and help them better their futures with access to technology and informational materials they cannot afford. Libraries serve as a neutral gathering space for diverse ideas, providing forums that support critical thinking and expression for all regardless of background or personal belief.

As the librarian at Goffstown High School in New Hampshire, I see the results of what good community libraries do every day. I work with my colleagues at the Goffstown Public Library to positively impact the lives of our teens. We collaborate to run programs that bring mentors in to support our children's dreams. We work together to bring in materials to ignite passion in innovation, developing makerspaces with high-tech equipment for our students to use for experimentation and learning; materials they could not afford on their own. We support informational and cultural literacy through our collections and services.

Our profession cannot effectively accomplish all we do without IMLS support. According to the Industrialist Andrew Carnegie, the builder of many of our nation’s libraries, “A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.” Libraries have supported our communities since founding father Ben Franklin established our country’s first library in Philadelphia. Please help ensure that American libraries may continue to boost their communities and support the American citizens within them.

Melissa Mannon

1 comment:

  1. Thank you to Mr. Guinta's office for responding by phone to an email I sent him on this matter. His office expressed Mr. Guinta's support for libraries during the call. I hope to see an expression of that support on the house floor at some point.