Books and the budget blueprint

Books and the budget blueprint

This is a post about books.

I’m not using it to tell you whether or not to support the current Presidential administration…that’s your choice. You may read what I post here, and use that to help you decide whether you agree or disagree with the budget proposal presented by the administration, what is called a “budget blueprint”. One reason why I am writing this, even though I try to stay away from politics in this blog for the most part, is that this isn’t a final budget at this point. There’s going to be a lot of debate over it, and it may or may not change significantly. You could still influence it, by contacting your congresspeople. You might tell them you want changes, or you don’t want changes, or specific changes you want…or you might not do anything at all. 🙂 Up to you…

Now, it would be reasonable to point out that I haven’t ever written about a Presidential budget blueprint before, in the close to eight years I’ve been writing this blog. Obviously, the previous ones were all under the same President, and this one is under a different President. However, I’m very confident that no other budget has had this direct an impact on federal funding of the creation of books (through direct support of authors) and libraries. There are a lot of programs which may affect literacy and therefore future book markets, but I’m going to stick with authors and libraries.

It’s also the first time that I’ve seen this many authors publicly taking a stand for or against a budget blueprint. We also talk about authors in this blog, and there are likely to be some names involved that you know.

First, here’s a link to the document, so you can read it yourself if you like:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf

Here is a short excerpt from this government document:

“The Budget also proposes to eliminate funding for other independent agencies, including: the African Development Foundation; the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Chemical Safety Board; the Corporation for National and Community Service; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Delta Regional Authority; the Denali Commission; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Inter-American Foundation; the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; the Legal Services Corporation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; the Northern Border Regional Commission; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; the United States Institute of Peace; the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “

I”m going to highlight three of these:

  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities

This budget blueprint proposes eliminating all funding for those three agencies. While it is hypothetically possible that funding could come in from other sources (I would guess that private donation would be legal), it’s likely that their activities would be, at the least, less than they had been previously and might stop completely.

We’ll take a look at each of these.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services

Official Website

Self-description from website:

“The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries (link is external) and approximately 35,000 museums. Our mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, our grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.”

Activities list on the website:

https://www.imls.gov/news-events/project-profiles

One project which ties into books/publishing/authors (note: my selection of a project is subjective; my goal is to find one that relates closely to the topics of this blog):

Open eBooks

Summary from the website: “The Open eBooks Initiative: Giving the Power of Reading to Those who Need it Most
May 31 2016 Eastern
Launched earlier this year, the Open eBooks initiative has garnered support and praise for its goal of helping children discover a love for reading through more open access to eBooks.”

The National Endowment for the Arts

Official Website

Self-description from the website:
“The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.”

Activities List on the Website:

Artistic Fields: Literature

This is a list of NEA Creative Writing Fellowship Winners who later won the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and/or the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Fiction:

https://www.arts.gov/fact-sheet/creative-writing-fellowship-winners-and-national-awards

The National Endowment for the Humanities

Official Website

Self-description from the website:
“Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.”

Activities List on the Website:

Divisions and Offices

One project which ties into books/publishing/authors:

Common Heritage

Summary from the website:

“America’s cultural heritage is preserved not only in libraries, museums, archives, and other community organizations, but also in all of our homes, family histories, and life stories. The Common Heritage program aims to capture this vitally important part of our country’s heritage and preserve it for future generations. Common Heritage will support both the digitization of cultural heritage materials and the organization of public programming at community events that explore these materials as a window on a community’s history and culture.”

Full disclosure: I have used the Chronicling America digitized archive of newspapers, funded by the NEH, for my Flipboard magazine, The Weird Old Days.

For authors and organizations expressing an opinion, see this

PEN.org page

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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One Response to “Books and the budget blueprint”

  1. ROBERT E ZIMMERMAN Says:

    Well done. We should all call attention to the the faults in this budget. Thank you, Bufo.

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