Thank you to everyone who contacted Senator Mikulski and ask for her support of school libraries! She did sign on. However, while the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) did pass out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, it did not include the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act or any amendment to support school libraries. (For more information, please see the Legislative Panel’s blog post.)
The school libraries amendment is expected to be re-introduced on the Senate floor, so there is still time to help! The American Library Association Washington Office is seeking stories about the state of school libraries that illustrate the consequences of underfunded school library programs. These stories will be used to help make the case to Senators for the need to reauthorize ESEA with the school libraries amendment.
For more information about what types of stories they are looking for and where to send them, please see the request below from the American Library Association Washington Office.
Thank you in advance for any stories and support you can provide!
Request for stories from the American Library Association Washington Office:
On October 20, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee completed their mark-up (vote on) the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA was passed by the committee but a key amendment supporting school libraries was withdrawn due to lack of support.
Now we ask for your help in gathering support for school libraries by sharing stories with the Washington Office about outrageously out of date school library materials and the consequences of under-funded school library programs. These stories will help influence members of the Senate if a school libraries amendment is re-introduced to ESEA on the Senate floor (which will likely happen).
These are the types of stories we are looking for:
• Out of date school library materials, books or otherwise, (i.e. books referring to the USSR in the present tense)
• Stories about under-staffed school libraries, or school libraries with no staff
• Specific consequences from the lack of funding for a school library program
Twenty years ago, we asked for stories like these and they were powerful enough to gain us a strong library advocate in Senator Jack Reed (D-RI). Now, Sen. Reed wants to know the state of school libraries to help sway his colleagues much like he was 20 years ago. Time is running out to get school libraries into ESEA; your stories can make a difference.