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Wednesday, November 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

State librarian meeting with Idaho congressional delegation, with Idaho’s fed $ for libraries at risk

Idaho State Librarian Ann Joslin is meeting with the state’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., today and tomorrow, as part of a two-day national library legislative outreach push. Among the top concerns: The Trump Administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget blueprint proposes to eliminate the primary source of federal support for Idaho libraries – an average of $1.28 million a year over the past five years. Joslin said that’s equal to 77 cents per Idahoan every year. The money comes under the Library Services and Technology Act, which is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which Trump wants to eliminate.

“Loss of federal funding would fundamentally change the impact the Idaho Commission for Libraries could make for the more than 860 public, school, academic and special libraries located throughout the Gem State,” the Idaho Commission for Libraries said in a news release today.

In fiscal year 2015, Idaho libraries saw more than 8.6 million visits. And library usage has been rising for the past five years, with adult usage growing 40 percent 2010 to 2015, and per-capita circulation of children’s materials and attendance at children’s library programs ranking fifth-highest in the nation in 2014.

An analysis of Idaho library usage by the University of Idaho’s McClure Center for Public Policy  Research this month said, “Idaho’s public libraries are among the most heavily used in the nation, especially among children and young adults.” The analysis said Idaho has 147 public libraries statewide, and seven in ten serve communities of 10,000 population or fewer. The state also has more than 700 school libraries, 10 bookmobiles, 12 public and private academic libraries and the Idaho State Archives.

Joslin is scheduled to meet today or tomorrow with all four members of Idaho’s congressional delegation, including Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Reps. Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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