On Wednesday night, the U.S. Congress passed S. 3530, the Museum and Library Services Act, on a vote of 327-28. The Senate had passed the bill several days earlier, but until Wednesday, it appeared the chances for passage were slipping away in the last days of this Congress. The MLSA reauthorizes the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the federal agency that sets national library policy and administers Library Services and Technology Act Funding. Texas receives about $11.4 million in LSTA funding each year and we use those funds to support Interlibrary Lending, Library consulting and continuing education programs, competitive grants, and about 25% of TexShare funding.
Key to the passage of this bill was Representative Will Hurd (R, TX-23), who co-sponsored the legislation and worked strategically for its passage. We are grateful to Rep. Hurd and the other sponsors and members of Congress who recognize the value that libraries contribute to building the social infrastructure that leads to strong, sustainable communities and engaged, educated citizens.
With the passage of the MLSA, and pending the president’s signature, we look forward to continuing to communicate with Congress the importance of support for libraries in Texas and across the nation to fully activate their potential as engines of education, economic development, and civic engagement.