Southeast Tourism Society Statement on Federal Funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Libraries and museums are community anchors that drive economic and community development. As a cornerstone of cultural heritage, libraries and museums are important partners for tourism at the community level.

The Institute ofMuseum and Library Services (IMLS) was created by Congressin 1996 to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement.IMLS supportslibraries, including public, academic, research, special and tribal, in addition to a full range of museums including art, history, science and technology, children’s museums, historical societies, tribal museums, planetariums, botanic gardens and zoos.

In working with communities to showcase their cultural heritage and tell their stories, IMLS develops programssuch as StoryCorps, which is dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs;and Building Digital Communities, which encourage libraries to play a lead role in providing broadband access to the communities, particularly rural communities.

Despite significant investments strengthening these pillars of community, the Administration has proposed eliminating funding for the IMLS. Southeast Tourism Society calls on Congress and the Presidentof the United Statesto fund this essential federal agency at its current level of $230million in recognition ofthe critical role ILMS plays in building the civic strength of communities and investing in the preservation of our cultural heritage.