Advocating for Needed Funding

What You Can Do

What MLA is advocating for in the FY 2021 Budget from the Mississippi Legislature:

  • Level funding for the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC)
  • Necessary funding to maintain the LearningExpress Library
  • $1,350,000 for the MAGNOLIA databases
  • $395,000 to MLC to restore loss of federal funds
  • A 10% increase (of $330,000) in the Personnel Incentive Grant (which provides funds to ensure libraries can hire and retain qualified staff)


The Mississippi Legislature has been able to maintain its allocation of $1 million for MAGNOLIA, but as of FY19 the expenditures for the MAGNOLIA databases have risen to over $1,350,000.   University and community college libraries around the state and the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) are contributing funds to assist with the deficit. During the FY19 legislative cycle, MAGNOLIA, through the Mississippi Library Commission budget request, is requesting a $350,000 increase to cover the deficit.

Send a Note to Your State Legislator to Support Mississippi Libraries

Send a Tweet to Your State Legislator to Support Mississippi Libraries

What MLA is advocating for from the Mississippi Legislature on behalf of K-12 libraries

In 2012, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) removed a vital standard that assured adequate budget funding for public school libraries. Since then, many school libraries across the state have seen significant cuts in library funding. For a school library to have a collection of books that is balanced, diverse, and updated, as well as computers and other technology that meets the needs of students, teachers, parents, and the school’s curriculum, school librarians must have adequate, consistent, and sustained funding. Therefore, MLA advocates that MDE reinstate standardized funding that ensures EVERY school library receives adequate and sustained funding to achieve the vision established by the MDE to provide a world-class educational system in Mississippi.

Send a Letter to Your State Legislator to Support Mississippi School Libraries

Send a Tweet to Your State Legislator to Support Mississippi School Libraries

What MLA is advocating for in the FY 2021 Budget from Congress:

  • Increase LSTA funding from $189.3 mil to $206.3 mil
  • Increase funding for IAL from $27 mil to $30 mil

Send a Note to Your Federal Congressman/woman to Support Federal Funding to Libraries

Send a Tweet to Your Federal Congressman/woman to Support Federal Funding to Libraries

What is IMLS, LSTA, and IAL?

IMLS – The Institute of Museums and Library Services is an independent agency of the United States federal government established in 1996. It is the main source of federal support for libraries and museums within the United States

LSTA - The Library Services and Technology Act provides grants to states and is the largest grant program run by IMLS; it provides funds to State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs) using a population-based formula set by the law.  There is a requirement for a state match.

IAL – The Innovative Approaches to Literacy is the only federal program that allocates funding to school libraries.  Half of allocated money goes to a competitive grant program for under served school libraries. The remaining money is allocated to competitive grants for national nonprofit organizations that work to improve childhood literacy.

IMLS 5 Yr Funding Allotment for Mississippi


Allotment Value













* The 2019 and 2020 federal allotments were cut due to budget cuts at the state level (state matching funds).   MLC received $355,000 last year from the State of Mississippi to replace the lost federal funds in 2019.  MLC is presently asking the state for $395,000 extra to make up for lost federal funds in the 2020 budget.

Facts about MS Public Libraries (from the 2018 Annual Statistical Report of Mississippi Libraries)

  • Mississippi has 51 public library systems and 2 independent libraries for a total of 235 public libraries in the state.  The total population of Mississippi is around 3 million.  Mississippi’s public libraries served over 7.5 million library visitors to those 235 libraries in 2018. 
  • Mississippi Public Libraries provided 6,754 early literacy programs, 15,817 children's programs and 2,856 young adult programs to over 797,000 children and teens throughout the state.
  • Mississippi public libraries recorded almost 2 million computer uses at their libraries and offered more than 1,100 tech workshops.
  • Over 325,000 library visitors reported using the library for job searching.  297,000 visitors reported using the library to fill out online job applications.

Facts about MAGNOLIA

MAGNOLIA is funded by the state legislature and provides online research databases for publicly funded K-12 schools, public libraries, community college libraries, and university libraries in Mississippi.

MAGNOLIA provides libraries with free access to 32 databases.  If purchased by all of these libraries individually, these databases would cost in total $3,515,095!

In 2018, there were over 19,224,000 sessions in MAGNOLIA databases resulting in more than 41,484,000 searches and over 1,695,000 full-text downloads.

How are federal LSTA funds used in Mississippi?

LSTA funds have been used by libraries across the state to support library programming and skill-building that supports economic development in local communities.  For a complete list, visit the IMLS State Program Report Projects Search page:

The Madison County Public Library System used LSTA grants to create a Digital Innovation Lab.  The library purchased MacBook computers, a sound booth with recording equipment, a 3D printer and a set of Chromebooks.  The lab is used to teach job skills (3D printing, CAD, Adobe, etc.), host an annual young filmmakers workshop in partnership with the local tourism office and the Jackson Film Office, teach podcasting and more.  Local artists and authors have used the sound booth to record their books and music and local homeschool groups often come for classes as well.  The addition of Chromebooks turned the bookmobile into a mobile computer lab.  

Public libraries throughout the state have used LSTA funds to develop and maintain annual reading programs, participate in community partnerships for economic and cultural engagement, and creating creating book clubs and STEM kits to encourage community engagement.

The Carnegie Public Library of Clarksdale and Coahoma County converted a significant portion of the library’s microfilm collection and ten years of print newspapers to a digitized, searchable web-hosted collection.

The Dixie Regional Library System purchased new, up-to-date wireless access points and firewalls for eight library branches in the system increasing accessibility for library users.

The Laurel-Jones County Library was aided in its efforts to promote early literacy and education in children between the ages of 2-13 through the purchase of AWE Early Literacy Stations and After School Edge Stations. Learning Stations contain software covering curriculum areas that includes writing, phonics, math, problem solving, social studies, and science, which are aligned with STEM/STEAM, and correlated to both national and state academic standards.

MLA Board Statement Concerning


Adopted August 18, 2022

The Mississippi Library Association has been made aware of the withholding of funds from the Ridgeland Public Library by the City of Ridgeland.  The Association’s Executive Board monitored the actions of the City earlier this year and was pleased when an agreement between the Library and the City was reached.  It is disheartening to hear that the withholding of funds is once again taking place.  Make no mistake, withholding of funds over a particular dislike of certain titles is a form of censorship.


In Mississippi, an individual Library Director does not make selection decisions in a vacuum.  In consultation with library boards, a Director crafts policies and, with the approval of these boards, follows these policies to determine what titles and other materials are selected to meet an overall goal of providing a broad, diverse collection available to all.  Libraries also have approved policies and procedures in place to follow when it becomes necessary to reconsider certain acquisitions.  Oftentimes, the loudest complainants fail to follow these specific policies and procedures.  It is vital that these policies and procedures be followed each time a request is made to remove a book or other resource from the library.  Mississippi’s Library Directors are professional librarians.  They receive extensive education and ongoing training to qualify them to develop collections which meet the broad and varied interests and needs of their local communities. Collection decisions are not made based on personal likes, dislikes, or beliefs.

As an Association representing all types of libraries within our State, the Mississippi Library Association denounces censorship of any kind in any library and will continue to support and defend the actions of Librarians who follow approved policies and procedures against those who wish to censor.  The Association stands with its colleagues and all library users in fighting censorship in all its forms in libraries throughout the State of Mississippi.

MLA Executive Board

MLA Board Statement Concerning Removal of the State Flag

June 23, 2020

Dear MLA members,

   As  librarians and staff, we humbly serve members of our communities by providing each of them with a safe inviting environment where they can read, research, learn, share, develop and explore.  We often take that term “inviting” for granted – for how inviting is a building that flies a flag that inspires nothing to many of our community members except hate, racism and divisiveness.  On June 5th after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the MS Library Association Board released a statement on behalf of the association condemning racism in all its forms.  But what are words if not supported with meaningful actions?  Today, the MLA Board is issuing a statement on behalf of the association and the citizens we serve asking legislators to remove and replace the Mississippi state flag.  We are encouraging you, our members, and all library employees in the state to contact your legislators and the governor and let them know that you support removing the current state flag and replacing it with a flag that represents and unites us all.  Take action.  Individual+Action=Make a Difference


We have created a website where you can automatically send a note to your legislator.  You can use the automated letter or create one of your own.  Please visit https://tinyurl.com/y7rfx294 and send a letter on behalf of the community members you serve.


MLA Board Statement


Mississippi Libraries provide services to a diverse mix of patrons who range from students to community members, attorneys and doctors to the homeless and unemployed, toddlers to the elderly, and many more.  Mississippi libraries are committed to these patrons no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they believe.  As an Association, we are united in our mission of enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all.      


The current Mississippi flag, adopted by the Legislature in 1894 and voted on by the people nearly twenty years ago, does not unite and represent all of our patrons today.  The flag and its history & symbolism represent a time when racism prevailed and when learning and access to information was not available to all.  As such, it should be taken down in favor of a more inclusive flag that will truly represent the diverse patrons that we serve. 


Therefore, the MLA Board asks that state legislators do the right thing for all Mississippi citizens and vote to take down the state flag.  We ask all of our association members to reach out to their state legislators to voice their support for removing the flag and replacing it with one that represents us all.

Mississippi Library Association Statement Condemning Racism & Brutality

June 5, 2020


The Mississippi Library Association firmly believes in justice, equality, diversity and inclusion in our libraries, our communities and our country.  We not only believe in it, we expect it as part of our constitutional rights as citizens and human rights as people.  We abhor hatred, racism and brutality in any form.  The Mississippi Library Association stands with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), the American Library Association (ALA) and our related state associations in their condemnation of violence and racism towards black Americans and people of color.  Our libraries play a critical role in our communities not only as providers of services, programs and resources but as leaders and role models.  We must not remain silent nor inactive.  BCALA is correct when it encourages us to “be proactive not only when someone in our community is harmed, but preventative in anticipating historically sanctioned violence by participating in local efforts to counter racism and violence against black men and women.”


We encourage all libraries in the state to stand up against racism and brutality.  Serve your communities by providing education, resources, booklists and activities that enlighten people who harbor hate and fear against those different from themselves and who use violence to oppress others. Be a catalyst for change. 



MLA's mission is to provide professional leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

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