The next 36 to 48 hours is critical to get millions, maybe billions, of dollars for libraries in the stimulus package.Â We need every single library supporter to start sending messages and calling congressional offices so that we can keep important library provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).Â As you all know, libraries are a key source of freeÂ Internet access to look for jobs and so much more.Â Our libraries provideÂ essentialÂ services thatÂ stimulateÂ our local economies, and theÂ American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 20009 providesÂ crucial funding for libraries to continue and build upon them.Â This week, the Senate and House versions of the economic stimulus package will go to conference to reconcile these pieces of legislation, and your calls and e-mails will help protect this funding.Â There are pros and cons of eachÂ version of the stimulus, and we need to protect the parts that benefit our communities.
Last week, Senate Amendment 501 could have stripped broadband funding from their version of the bill but your calls and e-mails to your elected officials defeated this amendment and successfully protected this funding.Â Now, more than ever, your activism is needed.Â Over 1,250 calls went to our elected officials, and now we need even more.
Please call your elected officials and tell them to communicate with the conferees in support of the following parts in both the House and the Senate versions:
- Restore education construction funds eliminated from the Senate version of the ARRA. The House version of the ARRA would provide $14 billion for K-12 construction and $6 billion for higher education construction and specifically mention libraries as an allowable use of funds.Â The K-12 construction funds would create 300,000 jobs.
- Restore the money cut from the State Stabilization Fund in the Senate bill to $79 billion to and restore the Governors ability to use a portion of the funds at his or her discretion.
- Maintain $8 billion for â€˜Broadband Technology Opportunities Programâ€™ for robust broadband to all of America including â€œfiber to the libraries for the 21st century.â€
- No less than $200 million that shall be available for competitive grants for expanding public computer center capacity, including community colleges and public libraries.
- Open access of networks should be upheld and not include provisions allowing intrusive network management techniques.Â
Again, the only way our grassroots effort will be successful is with your calls and e-mails.Â Your efforts have resulted in a stay of implementation on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and a defeat of the amendment that would have cut broadband funding from the Senate version of the economic stimulus act.Â This is our most important ask yet; without your calls, libraries will be left out of this legislation.