Strengthening Kids’Interest in Learning and Libraries(SKILLs) Act . Call to Action

American Library Association Washington Office Newsline
ALAWON Volume 16, Number 088 September 11, 2007

We need your help – ALL LIBRARIANS AND LIBRARY ADVOCATES – to ensure the inclusion of the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries(SKILLs) Act in the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act(NCLB). This is the single most important piece of legislation concerning school libraries that will come before Congress this year.Reauthorization of this bill is critical to the future of school libraries. On September 24, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee onEducation and Labor will be considering reauthorization of the NCLB. Inorder for the SKILLs Act to be included in NCLB – that is, to place ahighly qualified school library media specialist in every school – eachmember of the House must co-sponsor the SKILLS Act. There is little more than two weeks to accomplish this goal and the nameof your Representative must appear on this bill. If your Representative”s name does not appear as a co-sponsor, please callhis/her office immediately and request that he/she support the SKILLsAct. If your Representative”s name DOES appear on this bill, contacthis/her office and thank him/her for the continued support of schoollibraries and school library media specialists.

Sponsors: Raul Grijalva (AZ-7)Vernon Ehlers (MI-3)
Co-Sponsors: Bart Gordon (TN-6)Tim Holden (PA-17)Steve Cohen (TN-9)James McGovern (MA-3)

LIBRARIANS: Post this flier in your library

GET YOUR PATRONS TO CALL! We need as many people as possible to calltheir Representatives! Urgent Action Needed: This legislation is critical to the future ofschool library media specialists and the bill will be marked up by theweek of September 24. Please contact your Representative immediately andask him/her to co-sponsor the SKILLs Act. When contacting your Representative prepare yourself to state why thisissue is of critical importance: The SKILLs Act * Requires school districts, to the extent feasible, to ensurethat every school within the district employs at least one highlyqualified school library media specialist in each school library;*

Defines highly qualified school library media specialists asthose who have a bachelor””””s degree and have obtained full state
certification as a school library media specialist or passed the stateteacher licensing examination, with state certification in library mediain such state;* Establishes as a state goal that there be at least one highlyqualified school library media specialist in every public school nolater than the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year;*

Broadens the focus of training, professional development, andrecruitment activities to include school library media specialists;* Ensures that funds will serve elementary, middle, and highschool students;*

Requires books and materials to be appropriate for and engagethe interest of students in all grade levels and students with speciallearning needs, including English language learners. Talking Points *

Multiple studies have affirmed that there is a clear link between school library media programs that are staffed by a schoollibrary media specialist and student academic achievement. Across theUnited States, research has shown that students in schools with goodschool libraries learn more, get better grades, and score higher onstandardized test scores than their peers in schools without libraries.* Academic Librarians: School libraries are KEY to ensuringcollege readiness.*

Public Librarians: School library media specialists givestudents the skills they need to utilize your library to its fullestextent.* Long regarded as the cornerstone of the school community, schoollibraries are no longer just for books. Instead, they have becomesophisticated 21st century learning environments offering a full rangeof print and electronic resources that provide equal learningopportunities to all students, regardless of the socio-economic oreducation levels of the community – but only when they are staffed byschool library media specialists trained to collaborate with teachersand engage students meaningfully with information that matters to themboth in the classroom and in the real world.*

Only about 60 percent of our school libraries have a full-time,state-certified school library media specialist on staff.* With limited funding and an increased focus on schoolperformance, administrators are trying to stretch dollars and cut fundsacross various programs to ensure that maximum resources are dedicatedto improving student academic achievement.* Because NCLB does not highlight the direct correlation betweenschool library media specialists and increased student academicachievement, library resource budgets are increasingly being used tomitigate the effects of budgetary shortfalls.

Click here to*Jump to ALA””””s Legislative Action Center*See what library legislation is hot*Send a letter or fax to Congress U.S. Capitol switchboard 202-225-3121 ALAWON Editor:Andy Bridges

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