Donald Trump is famous for his contempt for the written word. He hates to read briefing papers.
So, to the presumed delight of ideologues like House Speaker Paul Ryan, Trump is once again trying to kill off the Institute of Museum and Library Services and some related programs.
Got to help pay for all the billions in tax cuts for multi-billionaires like the Koch brothers, right?
Here is the excuse on page 97 of the President’s dream budget for the 2019 fiscal year:
Oh, great. Who cares whether libraries lack sufficient money for professional development and ebooks—as long as just a few libraries close?
Don’t you love the Trump Administration’s passion for learning and a well-developed workforce? The budget document claims to take “important steps to expand opportunities for Americans to access affordable, employment-relevant education that puts them on the path to a well-paying job and, ultimately, a fulfilling career.” By zeroing out IMLS and related activities?
As keen as I am on the need for a national library endowment, it would only augment public funding, not replace it. Even IMLS provides just a speck of total funding—most library money comes from local sources. But this is a still crucial speck, especially in cash-strapped rural areas. Trump has talked about the need for broadband there. But what are families going to do with it? Just watch cartoons and on-demand Fox News. Good libraries are all about content and community and the needs of local people.
You can read a well-done reply from the American Library Association, which I’ll reproduce below. ALA must be statesmanlike. I don’t. We’re led by a loathsome would-be dictator, and the sooner we can impeach Trump—don’t get your hopes up under the spineless Republican Congress—the better off we’ll all be.
White House budget proposal continues to miscalculate the value of libraries
By Kathi Kromer
In its FY2019 budget released today, the White House proposed eliminating the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated to America’s libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The decision echoes the FY 2018 proposal, which also eliminated the grant-making agency and its programs. The administration’s budget also calls for elimination and/or severe cuts to many other federal programs that support libraries, including Innovative Approaches to Literacy, a Department of Education program.
The following statement was made by ALA President Jim Neal:
“The administration’s FY2019 budget is out of touch with the real needs of Americans and the priorities of leaders in Congress who represent them. The president miscalculates the value of more than 120,000 libraries across America, just as he did in his FY2018 budget proposal.
“There is bipartisan support for libraries in Congress, where decision-makers know that to cut funding for libraries is to undercut opportunity for their constituents.
“Thanks to its Grants to States program, IMLS funding provides services that benefit everyone in our communities, including:
- Veterans in California who receive assistance claiming well-earned benefits to further their education, get medical treatment, start a business and transition to civilian life.
- Students in Arkansas who prepare for today’s competitive job market by participating in coding classes taught by trained school and public librarians.
- Entrepreneurs in rural North Carolina who received business development assistance from an IMLS-funded business and technology outreach librarian.
- Adults in Kansas who take GED courses and use otherwise cost-prohibitive exam preparation tools to advance their education and improve career prospects.
“This administration’s new budget also decreases resources for children. Cutting federal support for programs like Innovative Approaches to Literacy comes at the cost of early literacy and improved student achievement, especially in the most underserved areas of our nation.
“Withholding federal support for libraries means withholding services that foster achievement, develop the workforce and contribute to local economies. ALA members will continue to highlight the value of libraries to our elected leaders in every U.S. congressional district. And we are confident that our congressional leaders will continue to protect the federal programs that invest in our communities.”
To take action, visit the ALA Action Center. You can also find additional resources at the Fund Libraries campaign page.
Here’s the email-your-legislators link in the ALA Action Center. Also see EveryLibrary‘s commentary and its action page with a suggested letter for House and Senate members. Ideally you can mention IMLS grants to libraries in your own city or state. Here are some recent grants I found for Virginia, including one for academic librarians to “develop a roadmap and white paper for library adoption of Three Dimensional (3D) and Virtual Reality (VR) services.” With grants like this in mind, librarians have correctly thought of IMLS as, among other things, a venture capital fund.
If the past repeats itself, even the Republic Congress won’t let our nonreader-in-chief kill off IMLS. But at this crazy time, we shouldn’t take anything for granted. So whether through ALA, EveryLibrary or directly, do catch up with Congress members and remind them in more tactful language than mine of the need for the agency and related programs.
About the drawing: Image from Ben Marko is CC-licensed.
David, you need to show far more skepticism. Trump reads a lot. You don’t make billions in high-risk commercial real estate without being acutely aware of law, economics, and current events.
And where did you develop these mad ideas?
“We’re led by a loathsome would-be dictator, and the sooner we can impeach Trump—don’t get your hopes up under the spineless Republican Congress—the better off we’ll all be.”
The proto-dictorial government abuses took place under Obama, who brought Chicago-machine politics to the federal government. It’s why Chicago is so corrupt. it’s what reforming the city is impossible. Criticize City Hall, and all of a sudden a host of city agencies descend on you, looking for ways to prosecute and fine you. That’s why the Obama administration used the IRS to crush conservative, pro-life, and pro-Israel non-profits.
During Election 2016, I wondered why so much effort was being devoted to pull out all the stops to elect Hillary. I now see. Her only talent is covering up corruption and there’s a heck of a lot of it. What’s starting to leak out now makes Watergate look like a church picnic.
And why the Koch brothers? Read Charles Koch’s Good Profit, describing his business practices, and compare it the tax evasion and contempt for the law being demonstrated by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google in Scott Galloway’s The Four. You’ll discover tax evasion on a massive scale.
@Michael: I’m hardly the biggest fan of Chicago as run by the Dems. They’ve royally shafted local K-12 libraries, for example. That said, I don’t see Dems at the national level waging a war against IMLS. I’ve got mixed feelings on the big tech companies but I see them as doing a lot more good than Trump ever has despite their major negatives. Follow the link about Trump the would-be dictator. You love threats against the press, admiration of Putin, and expensive military parades? As for the Koches, Jane Mayer’s “Dark Money” isn’t as upbeat about the brothers as you are.
P.S. I dunno about Trump and real estate documents–lawyers, etc., could take care of the details. But let’s say you’re right. Then shouldn’t he care as much about briefing documents?
I realize we’re here to talk about ebooks, not presidential politics. But it’s ridiculous to imply that Obama brought corruption into the White House . Quite the opposite. There’s no comparison between the blatant corruption of Trump’s White House and anything concocted by Obama or Clinton.
About the IRS allegation, I think it was about inappropriate screening of political groups in general, and not about specific partisan groups.
(although certain groups felt the brunt of this rule, there is no reason to suspect that they were targeted).
About tax evasion and high tech companies, you’ll find no disagreement from me though.
Trump proposed elimination of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting while rapidly increasing defense spending in his recent budget. This is a “shoot for the stars” opening bid in negotiating, but still it’s amazing to think that PBS should be a bargaining chip for anything. It’s almost as if that budget were a big document to troll liberals.
A reader of one of James Fallows’ columns coined the word “kleptofascism” to describe the Trump presidency. I try to avoid political buzzwords, but I think that is a fair characterization of appointment of officials whose only qualification seems to be that they are rich and ideologically opposed to the mission of the department they are supposed to run and stand to benefit financially from doing so.
Sigh. Providing funding for the common defense is a Constitutionally mandated function of the Federal government. Providing funding for speech is NOT.
In fact, doing so is a basic violation of the reasons for the First Amendment – because speech that the Federal government does not like can be effectively suppressed by refusing to fund it. (This is not the case for PBS, as the Federal funding is only a small part of their finances – but the threat is always there for any government funded outlet, whether it is a Left or Right wing administration pressuring them to conform.)
I would be absolutely opposed to the Federal government (or, indeed, any government) funding NRA TV – and they should not be funding PBS or NPR, either, regardless of their political bias.