SCLA and EveryLibrary Team Up to SaveIMLS for South Carolina Libraries



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Columbia, SC. July 7, 2017 – Cuts proposed in President Trump’s budget would have devastating effects on libraries in South Carolina, according to state library officials and analysts.  

The budget proposed by the Trump administration and now being shaped by Congress, would eliminate funding for the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which provides funding to state libraries.  South Carolina currently receives $2.5 million in funding per year from IMLS, which is used to support:

  • The entire Talking Book Services program which provides audio and large print books for the blind and visually impaired and assistive technology devices to support library users with additional needs
  • Statewide access to online research databases, career and job seeking resources, and homework support programs
  • Digitization projects that support local history and cultural programs
  • Summer reading supplies and programs for children across the state

Under the proposed Federal budget cut, South Carolina, along with other states, would lose funding that is used for foundational library services.

South Carolina State Library Director Leesa M. Aiken says, "Federal funds are vital to the services that libraries in South Carolina provide to their communities. The South Carolina State Library uses federal funds for many worthy projects that touch people in every walk of life – from children to veterans to job seekers and many more. Loss of federal funds would decimate our ability to provide needed services to South Carolinians.“

Examples of library programs supported by IMLS in South Carolina include:

  • Discus, South Carolina’s Virtual Library – used heavily by the K-12 community with more than 54 million unique uses last year.
  • Literacy 2030 – used by engage literacy service providers to help increase the literacy rate across the state. 
  • StoryFest SC (now in its sixth year) – a literacy event that brings two nationally renowned children’s authors or illustrators to the state.  Children who attend StoryFest receive two books, one book from each author/illustrator; often the authors sign the books.
  • StudySC – supports in-depth study of SC history that is geared for 3rd and 8th graders, their families, and educators.
  • GrandFamily Resource Centers – a public library program that provides resources, personal support, and related programs to help grandparents and the children they are raising.
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid – a class designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and others on how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addiction challenge, or is in crisis.  

“Without IMLS funding, South Carolina’s libraries would not be able to provide the needed level of library and information services that our citizens and communities have come to expect and appreciate,” says Amber Conger, president of the South Carolina Library Association. “IMLS funds help bridge the digital divide for so many library patrons. Our libraries and our communities depend on continued support and funding from IMLS.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), established in 1996, is the only federal agency that funds libraries nationwide.  The agency’s work benefits libraries of all types: public, research, academic and tribal; and museums of all disciplines: art, history, botanic gardens, aquariums, science and technology centers, children’s museums and zoos. The IMLS is the main federal source for innovative library programs that supports early literacy, people seeking employment, and successful community outcomes through purposeful library programming, and resources.

“The IMLS programs benefit every South Carolinian, including rural and urban residents, children, senior citizens, students, jobseekers, and the average adult,” adds Conger. “The loss of this federal funding would be devastating to local public libraries and school libraries. It will have a negative and noticeable impact at the community level.” SCLA encourages people to contact their senators and congressional representatives to voice their concerns and request their support for this funding.

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About South Carolina Library Association

The South Carolina Library Association is the state’s largest organization for librarians, trustees, friends, and library supporters. Member libraries and librarians support all South Carolinians by providing educational, business, and health resources for all ages. SCLA believes that libraries build communities and individuals by providing the tools and inspiration for anyone who seeks to learn, grow, and create.

About EveryLibrary
EveryLibrary, registered in Illinois, is the first and only national organization dedicated exclusively to promoting political action at a local level to create, renew, and protect public funding for libraries of all types. This non-partisan, pro-library organization promotes sustaining libraries as they evolve and grow in the 21st century. EveryLibrary is a coalition partner with other organizations, associations, and non-profits that seek to support libraries through public awareness and advocacy.



South Carolina Library Association
Contact: Amber Conger, President
[email protected]

Contact: John Chrastka
[email protected]