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Collins Not Sponsoring Library Stabilization Fund Act

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Thursday, July 23, 2020   

WINDHAM, Maine - Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins is forging her own path to support library legislation. While she co-led a Dear Colleagues letter seeking emergency financing, she is not one of the Library Stabilization Fund Act sponsors, all Democrats.

The $2 billion act would help libraries with financial losses. But Collins recently introduced a less expensive bipartisan bill that would boost broadband for rural libraries. Maine Library Association President Jennifer Alvino says more money is needed.

"Many libraries have had to furlough staff or lay them off completely during the closure due to budget cuts," says Alvino. "So this will give libraries the funding they need to bring that library staff back."

The federal stimulus package known as the CARES Act included about $50 million for libraries. Collins' office has not responded to a request for comment.

American Library Association President Julius Jefferson says libraries often bridge the digital divide for people without internet access, helping them apply for jobs, unemployment and other resources.

"Without this funding, I fear that it will be like this whole idea of suffering twice," says Jefferson. "So we're suffering because we're going through a pandemic, and then we're suffering because we have no way to get back on our feet. And libraries will allow us to help us all get back on our feet and stay connected."

The Library Stabilization Fund Act has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, of which Collins is a member.

Disclosure: American Library Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Census, Education. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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