Dear fellow Windham residents,
Our country’s libraries are under attack. The proposed federal budget eliminates funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 public libraries and 35,000 museums. New Hampshire would lose $1.7M per year, hurting our libraries in the following ways.
A statewide interlibrary loan program (ILL), which gives you access through Nesmith Library to every loanable item in the state, delivered over 260,000 items in 2015. These items are transported using the state’s ILL van service which, Director Carl Heidenblad points out, would be decimated by the loss of IMLS funding. Making loans by mail instead would be prohibitively expensive and the number of items available from our library would diminish drastically. Libraries would no longer be able to support book clubs – of which there are fourteen in Windham alone – forcing readers to purchase books every month.
Every year, 900,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks are borrowed through NH Downloadable Books. NHDB makes thousands of titles available for Kindles, smartphones, and tablets, and is partially funded through IMLS funding.
The state library uses IMLS funds to purchase services through EBSCO, an online host of research databases which provide library users access to expensive academic, medical, legal, corporate, and government research tools.
Access to the American Dream
Beyond the basic services that would be affected by the loss of federal funding, there is the frightening trend toward thinking that open access to the information offered through libraries (and museums) is no longer important to our culture.
As Assistant Director Diane Mayr put it, “The future of an informed citizenry in New Hampshire is jeopardized by removal of this funding. These services are used throughout the state, which equalizes the access to information and materials across cities and towns, generations, educational accomplishment, and socioeconomic conditions. To lose funding will further separate the haves and have-nots. New Hampshire cannot further disadvantage its population in a world where information is power and technology is king.”
To help restore IMLS funding to the federal budget, there are several things you can do:
First and foremost, share your story. How has our library engaged your children, helped you find work, learn a language, grow your business, or affected you in some other way? The state is gathering stories to present on National Library Legislative Day, May 1st. Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call your legislators and let them know that this funding matters to you:
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (202) 224-2841 or (603) 647-7500 www.shaheen.senate.gov/contact/contact-jeanne
Sen. Maggie Hassan (202) 224-3324 or (603) 433-4445 www.hassan.senate.gov/content/contact-senator
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (District 1) (202) 225-5456 or (603) 531-9653 https://shea-porter.house.gov/contact
Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (District 2) (202) 225-5206 or (603) 226-1002 http://kuster.house.gov/contact