The U.S. Senate announced its confirmation of Kathryn (“Kit”) Matthew as director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums, on September 22. Matthew succeeds IMLS deputy director for library services Maura Marx (a 2006 LJ Mover & Shaker), who served as acting director since previous director Susan Hildreth’s term ended in January. The four-year directorship alternates between leaders from the library and the museum communities, in order to ensure representation from both sectors. President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Matthew for the position on March 10, along with nominees and appointees for several other key administrative posts.
Eager to promote strategic priorities for 2015, officials for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) trained a spotlight on the various federal funding resources available through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) during a recent American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter session in Chicago. At a talk entitled, “All Eyes on IMLS: Funding Priorities and Reauthorization,” IMLS Acting Director Maura Marx and Robin Dale, the associate deputy director for state programs, outlined the scope and focus of LSTA’s grants to states and other discretionary spending for libraries.
On January 15, 2015, Susan H. Hildreth completed her four-year term as director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Under her leadership, IMLS provided nearly $1 billion in support to libraries and museums, with a strong emphasis on early learning, STEM-related projects, and connectivity in libraries across the country. Prior to her tenure at IMLS, Hildreth served as Seattle City Librarian, California State Librarian, and San Francisco City Librarian. On March 1, she will return to California, her “adopted home state,” to serve as executive director of three linked organizations: the Peninsula Library System, a consortium of public and community college libraries in San Mateo; the Pacific Library Partnership, a California Library Services Act system; and Califa, a nonprofit membership cooperative that provides services and programs to libraries throughout California.
When President Barack Obama appointed Susan H. Hildreth as director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in 2011, many in the profession knew we were in for a robust four years of activity by that federal agency. Hildreth had already been influencing the library landscape for years in major leadership roles, including time heading major public libraries (San Francisco and Seattle) and the California State Library.
On June 18, The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) released the results of its 2011 Public Libraries in the United States Survey. While the survey is undertaken every year, the latest numbers from 2011 represent the study’s first attempt to use multivariate statistical modelling to take a deep dive into library circulation and visitation numbers. The results of that analysis verify that when communities invest in libraries, those libraries see increased use.
Last year, the American Library Association (ALA), working with the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), established the new Center for the Future of Libraries (CFFL), a new program envisioned as a way to keep libraries ahead of the curve as they prepare for what’s to come in the industry—whatever that might be. That lack of certainty isn’t daunting the center’s new director, Miguel Figueroa. A 2005 LJ Mover and Shaker and former director of the ALA’s Office for Diversity and Office for Literacy and Outreach Services who most recently worked with the Association of Theological Libraries, Figueroa talked with LJ about what the future might hold for libraries and how librarians can be ready for anything.
Though broadband Internet access has become more common in U.S. households during the past decade, the digital divide has not yet been bridged. In fact, challenges now loom larger than ever for households without broadband, said Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Chief Librarian for the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) during his opening remarks at the “Libraries and Broadband: Urgency and Impact,” public hearing hosted by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) on April 17. According to IMLS estimates, about 100 million Americans don’t have access to high-speed Internet at home, while 19 million don’t have any Internet access at home.
Over the past several weeks, decision-makers inside of the Capital Beltway in Washington, DC, have turned their attention to the federal budgeting process for FY 2015.President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have released starkly different visions for what our nation should be spending money on.
On April 1, House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his budget proposal for the fiscal year 2015. It would cut five trillion dollars from federal balance sheets in the next decade by making significant cuts to spending on initiatives like Medicare and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamps. Among librarians, though, the most controversial cost-saving measure proposed in the Ryan budget might be its elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) entirely, cutting millions in grants to libraries around the country.
President Barack Obama’s $3.9 trillion budget for fiscal year 2015 proposes slight cuts in federal library spending, strongly promotes a variety of early education programs, and funds an ongoing mission to connect students to high-speed Internet in their schools and libraries.