The proposed fiscal year 2018 federal budget eliminates the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to States is the largest grant program run by IMLS. Ohio directly benefits from LSTA funds for a variety of programs, including the statewide shared group of databases (the Ohio Web Library), that total approximately $5 million per year. If the cost was broken down by citizen, it would cost each Ohioan less than a dollar a year to maintain.
Ohio LSTA grants are used for a variety of library programs including veterans transitioning to civilian life, small businesses seeking to expand their business online, summer reading programs, resources for blind and hearing-impaired patrons, resume writing and job skills workshops and computer coding courses to teach youth 21st century job skills.
The negative impact on Ohioians of elimination of IMLS would be far-reaching and the following programs and services would disappear or be significantly reduced:
- 73 databases available state-wide to all Ohioans, including K-12, higher education, and all public libraries would disappear. These include Academic Search Premier, Business Source, and Master File.
- Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled services would be curtailed.
- Public libraries would not receive summer reading program materials.
- Ohio Digital Library, which provides eBooks, digital audiobooks, digital magazine, and video to patrons of 177 public libraries across the state, would no longer receive support from the State Library.
- Plans to use LSTA funds to support the Guiding Ohio Online digital literacy program would be eliminated once the grant funding from Serve Ohio ends in fiscal year 2018.
- The Serving Every Ohioan (SEO) Library Center would no longer be partially supported with federal funding, requiring the elimination of some services such as Technology Training on Demand.
- Competitive grants to support innovative library initiatives in areas including data management and analytics, outreach and partnerships, and STEM/STEAM, would no longer exist.
- The process of establishing the Ohio Digital Network as a service hub for DPLA would be significantly delayed or terminated. Ohio Digital Network is creating a portal for Ohioans to access all of Ohio’s digitized cultural heritage in one place.
- Services to help libraries become more efficient and serve the public better would be reduced or eliminated, such as Public Library Survey data and State Library consulting services for strategic planning, space design, and youth services.
- Library staff across the state would lose access to professional development resources and opportunities such as Skillsoft courses through Webjunction and leadership programs such as Library Leadership Ohio and ILEAD USA-Ohio would be eliminated.