On June 26, busloads of librarians and library supporters from cross the country descended upon Capitol Hill to call attention to the value of today's libraries, as well as the issues the library community is facing.
At least 1,000 advocates from around the country, wearing red “Support Libraries” T-shirts, lobbied members of Congress on the urgent need for funding libraries threatened by closures, shortened hours, staff shortages, and diminished services; the importance of school libraries to the success of No Child Left Behind; and other critical issues.
"Library Day on the Hill," a high point of the American Library Association's (ALA's) 2007 Annual Conference in Washington, DC, which took place from June 21-29 in the Washington Convention Center.
"Library usage nationwide shows that the library is increasingly vital to communities around the country," says American Library Association Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. "Whether you're talking about story hour or after-school programming, job search help or assistance for small business owners, the library has the help one needs, provided by trained professionals."
In the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building, some 50 Senators and Representatives posed for their own version of ALA's famous READ promotional posters, using a setup provided by Polaris Library Systems. www.polarislibrary.com
Bill to improve school libraries introduced
Rep. Raul Grijalva speaks about the Skills Act at a press conference on Capitol Hill, June 26. Photo by George Eberhart.
In conjunction with ALA Annual Conference in Washington, on Tuesday U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I., left) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz., right) introduced the bipartisan Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act. The legislation reauthorizes and strengthens the Improving Literacy through School Libraries portion of the No Child Left Behind Act and will ensure that more schools have qualified library media specialists and the resources they need to help students find the right information... Read more
Sen. Jack Reed describes the SKILLS Act at a press conference on Capitol Hill, June 26. Photo by George Eberhart.