Posts Tagged 'School Libraries'

Obama Releases FY 2015 Budget; Includes LSTA cut and no funds for school libraries

On March 4th, President Obama released his FY 2015 budget. It includes $178.6 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), which is $2 million less than in FY 2014. No money is provided for school libraries.

Susan Hildreth, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), said in a conference call with stakeholders that IMLS will be working on a National Continuing Education Platform to ensure continued education of library employees on new services and technologies.

For more information, please see the District Dispatch post.

Copyright Workshop for School Librarians

Carrie Russell from the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office will offer an online workshop entitled “Copyright for K-12 Librarians and Educators” on Thursday, April 11th from 2:30-4pm. The workshop description states that it will offer guidance on ways to legally provide materials to students by exploring common scenarios encountered by school educators and librarians and is based on her book by the same title. Registration is through the ALA Store. This is not a free workshop. See the registration page of individual and group rates.

Action Alert! Call Mikulski to support LSTA & School library funding!

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) is expected to mark-up (take a vote) on the FY 2013 LHHS budget on Tuesday, June 12. This budget is the source of federal funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as well as funding for school libraries. Senator Mikulski serves on this subcommittee.

Please call Senator Mikulski at 202-224-4654 and ask her to support the following in the LHHS FY 2013 Appropriations bill:

1.  Level funding of the LSTA at $184.7 million for FY 2013.

2.  Level funding of the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program at $28.6 million for FY 2013.

Background on LSTA

LSTA is the primary source of annual funding for libraries in the federal budget. It is a population-based grant funded to each state through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), an independent federal government agency. Each state determines how they will allocate their LSTA funds. In Maryland, the funds are used for state-wide services like the Summer Reading Club and AskUsNow, among other things. In addition, LSTA also supports Native American and Native Hawaiian Library Services; National Leadership Grants to support activities of national significance that enhances the quality of library services nationwide and provide coordination between libraries and museums; and, Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians which is used to help develop and promote the next generation of librarians.

Background on IAL

From 2002 to 2010, the Improving Literacy through School Libraries program had been the primary source for federal funding of school libraries. However, in recent years the President and U.S. Congress have consolidated or zero-funded this program. A special thanks to Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) who recognized that school libraries need a direct funding source in the federal budget and had the money redirected in the U.S. Department of Education for the IAL program.

Thank you in advance for making the call!

White House responds to online petition to support school libraries

The White House has responded to the We the People online petition in support of school libraries. The petition was started in January and received over 28,000 signatures. To see the petition and the White House response, go to the We the People web site. For some commentary on the White House’s response, check out the blog of Carl Harvey, who introduced the petition. (For more background on this petition, see the earlier blog post.)

White House Petition for School Libraries exceeds 25,000 signatures

Just after 10:30am on January 31st, the number of signatures reached 25,000 on the White House Petition for School Libraries. By the deadline of February 4th, there were 27,400 signatures. Now the Obama administration will assign experts to the topic and issue an official response. (See the earlier blog post for more information about the petition.) A School Library Journal article discusses this successful advocacy effort.

Many thanks to everyone who signed the online petition!

House introduces SKILLs Act

The House has introduced a Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act, HR 3776. This is a companion bill to S 1328, which was withdrawn in committee in October due to lack of support. The hope is that the House bill will fare better. The bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and strengthen school library programs. For more information, please see the District Dispatch post.


Action Alert! White House Petition for School Libraries!

Support funding for school library programs! Sign an online petition to the White House to ask that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provide dedicated funding to help support effective school library programs. Even if you do not work in school libraries, please consider participating in this advocacy effort. The petition needs 25,000 signatures by February 4th.

The petition is available at

The petition web site can be temperamental, especially when it experiencing high traffic volume. If you run into problems, you are encouraged to try again later.

White House petitions on We the People must be authored by individuals, not any association. Therefore, Carl Harvey, 2011-2012 President of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), has introduced this petition as an individual, not as a representative of AASL or the American Library Association (ALA). We the People is a new tool that allows an individual to petition the Obama Administration online. If a petition gets at least 25,000 signatures, White House staff will review it, send it to the appropriate experts and issue an official response.

Thanks in advance for any advocacy efforts you can provide!

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