As you know, libraries are helping unemployed Americans get back to work not only by helping them acquire needed job skills, but also by offering no-fee access to the Internet for online job searching, computers for working on resumes, resources for building small business plans, and much more. Unfortunately, these very services are threatened by budget shortfalls in state and local funding; due to these budget cuts, many libraries may be forced to cut services that are so incredibly necessary during these tough economic times.
Right now, the House of Representatives is debating the Jobs for Main Street Act, and this bill would provide funding to a variety of programs aimed at creating jobs. No other organization is as dynamic or as well-equipped to build jobs as libraries, yet neither the House nor the Senate version of this legislation mentions libraries. By including specific bill language that includes librarians, we can continue to help people look for jobs, help people obtain their GED, build valuable job skills, and much more. To read the full proposal, please click here.
The House is expected to vote on this legislation TODAY. Please call your representatives TODAY and your senators tomorrow; tell them you would like to see librarians included in the Jobs for Main Street Act and explain to them that those funds are critical in putting librarians back to work so they can help people get back to work.
SPECIFIC STORIES MAKE AN IMPRESSION! Please tell them how your local library is using its resources to help people get back to the workforce. If you have had to furlough any library workers or had to reduce hours of operation, tell them that. If you see an increase in people using the free Internet access more for job applications than ever before, please tell them. If you see people attending your classes on word processing now more than ever before, please tell them. Please tell them how giving YOU the additional resources will help empower their constituents to get back into the workforce.
To find out who your members of Congress are, please click on the “Take Action!” link in the upper right-hand corner of this message. Every phone call is critical … We MUST reach every member of Congress within the next 48 hours!
BACKGROUND FOR JOBS FOR MAIN STREET ACT
- Libraries play a key role in getting America back to work again. Nationwide, the library is the only source of no-fee Internet access for 71 percent of Americans. With more and more job applications only being accepted online, the public library is becoming the center of most American’s job searches.
- State Library Agencies reported in November 2009 that 77 percent of states cut funds that support local public libraries, which has meant layoffs, staff furloughs, and forced retirements. This has caused a 75 percent cut in services to the public including canceled statewide databases used for job searching, homework help, and cuts in 24/7 reference, which are used by small businesses and students.
- Our proposal for saving libraries and helping America get back to work would be to provide a one-time $650 million to be distributed on a need basis through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
- This proposal would create up to 13,000 library jobs in a few short months meaning this is a shovel-ready project.
- The money would be used for library jobs that are focused on assisting patrons with getting back to work – thereby having the impact of assisting literally millions of Americans find employment. None of these funds would be used for facilities or equipment.
- These funds would be distributed in a clear, concise, affirmative manner. Funds would be distributed to states using a formula through IMLS based 50 percent on population, and 50 percent on relative unemployment (similar to the Department of Labor’s Dislocated Worker Program).
- The Chief State Library Officer in each state would be responsible for distributing funds to local public libraries based on their local needs.
- A minimum amount of funding per library could offer one library staff job per building based upon need and a maximum of five full-time staff.
- Funds would be limited to hiring back staff released due to budget cuts, recruiting new staff and/or expanding staff services around job searching and employment skills training.