The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
January 23, 2003

Mrs. Bush Announces $20 Million to Help Offset National Shortage of Librarians

President Bush's 2004 Budget Recommends Record-Level Funding for Nation's Libraries and Museums

Washington, D.C. -- Laura Bush announced today that the President's Bush's 2004 budget will include a proposal for increased funding for the nation's libraries and museums. The President's 2004 proposed budget will be sent to Congress on February 3, 2003.

"Along with our homes and schools, libraries and museums provide the strongest foundation for learning in our communities," Mrs. Bush said. "Museum directors and librarians educate and inform the public, and and by doing so, by doing so, strengthen our great democracy."

Over the next 16 years, America's libraries are projected to lose 58 percent of their professional librarians. The President's budget proposal addresses this loss with a special focus on recruiting and training the next generation of librarians. Last year, the President's budget included $10 million for this initiative. This year, the budget requests $20 million for this initiative.

Dr. Robert Martin, IMLS Director noted, "In preparing to make the first grants for this initiative, we heard compelling stories about the need for librarians and a wealth of ideas for creative solutions. The library community is grateful to the President and Mrs. Bush for their commitment to learning and to libraries."

The 2004 budget request includes a total of approximately $242 million for museums and libraries, which is a 15 percent increase over last year's request. Federal funding for the 122,000 libraries and 15,000 museums in the United States is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Grants from IMLS help libraries and museums use new technology; attract state and local support; preserve our cultural heritage; and bring information, knowledge, and ideas to children, families, schools and communities.

For more information, contact Eileen Maxwell, IMLS public affairs specialist, at (202) 606-8339.


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