Senators Collins, Reed Bill to Fund America’s Libraries and Museums Clears Senate Hurdle

The Museum and Library Services Act would reauthorize the core programs supporting libraries and museums in Maine and across the country.

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee unanimously passed the Museum and Library Services Act of 2018 (MLSA), legislation authored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) to reauthorize MLSA through fiscal year (FY) 2025. The programs in this bill directly serve libraries and museums across the country. This bipartisan bill would also modernize the authorities and grants at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help museums and libraries better meet the changing needs of their communities.

 

“Public libraries and museums are central community institutions in Maine and throughout the country.  Increasingly, libraries have emerged as hubs not just for literacy and Internet access, but for workforce support and access to important information.  The bipartisan Museum and Library Services Act represents a commitment to supporting libraries and museums that do more than accumulate artifacts – they tell stories that enrich our communities and inspire the minds of future generations,” said Senator Collins.  “Our bill would bolster that commitment, and I will continue to work with Senator Reed to ensure that libraries and museums across the country receive this vital support.” 

 

“We must do all we can to support libraries and museums, which serve as anchor institutions for their communities and are beacons of education, connectivity, and discussion across our nation.  The Museum and Library Services Act is a crucial step toward ensuring that these institutions are funded, staffed, and accessible to all.  Through a relatively modest federal investment, this law helps build the capacity to support and expand access to library and museum services at the state and local level, and it will help fully leverage the role of libraries and museums in supporting the learning, educational, and workforce development needs of Americans nationwide,” said Senator Reed.

 

The MLSA would enhance the ability of libraries and museums to address community needs, including workforce development, literacy, and accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Specifically, it would reauthorize the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the only federal program that helps public libraries meet their community’s needs, enhance their services through technology, reach underserved and rural populations, and recruit new professionals to the library field.  

 

MLSA is supported by the American Library Association, the American Alliance of Museums, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, and the Maine Library Association.  Click HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE to read their letters of support.