Action Alert! Contact Representatives about School Library funding

The American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office is urging people to contact Representatives asking them to sign onto a “Dear Colleague” letter that would protect funding for school libraries in the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program.  Please act soon, as the “Dear Colleague” will likely be sent on March 12th.  Please note that Congressman Ruppersberger is on the Appropriations Committee, which will be hearing these bills.

We need as many members of Congress as possible to sign onto the letter – remember, every other group is doing the same thing we are.  If we don’t advocate for libraries and library funding, the money that should be allocated to us could go to other groups who are calling in louder and higher numbers.

In his FY2011 budget, President Obama consolidated Improving Literacy Through School Libraries with five other literacy programs.  This would mean that school libraries will have to directly compete with other programs to receive federal dollars under the President’s plan.  However, Congress is busy drafting up their own budget for FY2011 right now, and there is no word yet if they will go along with President Obama’s recommendation of consolidation.  Congress needs to hear from their constituents NOW about the important role that school libraries play in today’s schools.

Right now there is a letter circulating around the House of Representatives urging the Appropriations Committee to specifically appropriate $100 million for Improving Literacy Through School Libraries.  This amount means that this program will be available to every state, rather than the current competitive grant program.  Please go to Capwiz to find out the name and number of your Representative and call his or her office explaining to them how important having a school library can be in a child’s education.  There are no Action Alerts set up for this on Capwiz, but you may certainly use Capwiz to contact your Congressman electronically.   Please ask them to sign on to the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries “Dear Colleague.”

Once your representative or their staff confirms that they would like to sign on to the funding “Dear Colleague,” please ask them to contact the staffers below depending on their party affiliation:

  •  Democrat – Ask them to contact Joseph Mais in Rep. Grijalva’s office and ask them to sign onto the Dear Colleague.  His email address is and his phone number is (202) 225-2435.
  • Republican – Ask them to contact Rachel Fenton in Rep. Vernon Ehlers’ office and sign onto the Dear Colleague.  Her e-mail address is and her phone number is (202) 225-3831. 

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