First daughter Ivanka Trump's attempt to honor National Library Week has backfired.
National Library Week was April 9 through 15. On April 14, the first daughter tweeted: "This #NationalLibraryWeek, we honor our libraries and librarians for opening our eyes to the world of knowledge, learning and reading!"
But in light of her father's proposed 2018 budget, her sentiment rang hollow among many in the U.S., especially librarians.
President Donald Trump's budget proposes to slash funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which supports libraries across the nation, observes The Washington Post.
According to IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn Matthew, $214 million of that agency's $230 million budget goes directly to state and local libraries, reports The Hill.
American Library Association President Julie Todaro tweeted a devastating response to Ivanka's post: “We agree -- libraries do great work with federal funds for states [Donald Trump] wants to wipe out.”
The Huffington Post compiled several negative and critical social media posts:
Your dad wants to cut all of our federal funding but thanks for the tweet. #SaveIMLS
[Ivanka Trump] Your father is about to completely defund the federal agency that helps to fund libraries. You might wanna look into that.
[Ivanka Trump] Defunding libraries as proposed in your dad’s budget hurts hardworking Americans
Oh? What’s that? Ivanka’s dad proposed eliminating library funding and she’s a fraud?
Oh, dear. Ivanka. IT IS AS THOUGH THE ADMINISTRATION DOES NOT LOVE LIBRARIES AT ALL.
I wonder if Ivanka Trump even has a library card...
Your dad is trying to defund IMLS which provides essential funding and guidance to all public libraries. We don’t need your honor. #saveimls
[Ivanka Trump] Thanks for honoring us, but we’re in serious trouble if your dad has his way. Kind words won’t pay the bills. #saveimls
One public library employee from Connecticut saw a silver lining.
“What’s become more obvious, is how fractured the country is,” Samantha Lee told The Huffington Post. “There’s been a cultural lack of communication which has fostered misunderstandings and hard feelings. Librarians are sensing this and responding to it. We’re reaffirming libraries as community spaces -- welcoming and safe spaces. We celebrate diversity, intellectual freedom and democracy.”
More than 100 members of Congress have signed letter to the House Appropriations Committee to restore ILMS funding, reports The Hill.
The letter, entitled Support Funding For Our Nation's Libraries, states in part: "Every day, libraries provide no-fee public access to computers and the Internet in many rural and underserved communities, giving increased access to children, students, adults and businesses. According to a recent American Library Association report, 65 percent of all libraries nationwide say they are the only provider of free internet access in their communities. In rural areas, public libraries are even more critical, with 73 percent reporting they serve as their community’s only free internet provider."