Statement from Spokane Moms

On accepting the AASL President's
Crystal Apple:

We, the Spokane Moms, are touched and humbled to be receiving the 2008 AASL Crystal Apple Award. We thank the entire AASL, and by extension the ALA, for such an honor. The gesture itself represents, at heart, what you do best – give to others. School librarians embody a spirit of selflessness and compassion that creates a rare ability to change a human being’s life course. We are honored to be recognized by those who deserve our greatest admiration and gratitude for the work you do for our children. It is your spirit of service and dedication that has inspired us to wage our campaign. On the day that the Washington State Senate voted 49-0 to support funding for school libraries we heard from many Senators evidence of the transformational and lasting impact that libraries and school librarians can have on a child. We heard passionate arguments about how libraries and librarians have always supplied a valuable and necessary service, and how, despite all the technical innovations that have occurred, the institution and its stewards remain as important today as they were in antiquity. We strongly believe that the strength and future of our nation rests mightily on the shoulders of a technologically current, well-integrated and well-resourced information and knowledge-based national infrastructure. Public and school libraries should be at the very center of such infrastructure. They should be the nerve centers that feed every school and community in every region of the country, generating new knowledge, facilitating commerce, and fomenting civic engagement.

In an interdependent, rapidly changing marketplace of ideas and services that is simultaneously national and global in scope, our children need a broad range of tools and resources in their educational knapsack. They have to learn how to think critically and creatively, how to understand and process knowledge and information across disciplines, and how to interact and engage with other learners in person and in remote locations via multiple media. They also need to acquire sufficient skills so as to travel confidently and safely on the new information superhighway. Only well-funded, professionally staffed and properly resourced, networked classrooms and school libraries will adequately train them to face the challenges of the modern workplace. Proper training will also help them become competent and actively engaged citizens in our 21st century public square. Parents, teachers and school librarians are our children’s best allies in an ever-changing new world of scientific and technological progress and innovation. We, the Spokane Moms, stand together with you in this alliance that is committed to their successful future.

We would not be receiving this award were it not for the dedication, generosity and tireless enthusiasm of our Coalition’s Charter Members and Research Advisory Council. Many of you know them as leaders within the library community, but we know them as our compasses: Dr. Mike Eisenberg of the University of Washington; Jan Walsh, Washington State Librarian; Dr. Gary Hartzell, Professor Emeritus at University of Nebraska, Omaha; Dr. Keith Curry Lance; and the Washington Library Media Association. In addition, the breadth of knowledge and tireless advocacy and patience of AASL’s Julie Walker and Sarah Kelly Johns have been instrumental. We know we would not have accomplished what we have without the strong leadership, vision and dedication of these extraordinary and collaborative leaders.

We extend a special thank you to Washington Legislators and Washington’s Governor for passing a budget that included funding for school libraries and turned a vision into reality.

Finally, we’d like to thank the people who have sacrificed the most in order to make our efforts possible--our families: our husbands, Michael, Stuart and Rick; and our children, Nora (5), Jack (6), Owen (7), Isabel (9), Ethan (10), Henry (15) and Spencer (17) and a baby due in November. We are grateful for their patience, support and understanding.

--The Spokane Moms: Denette Hill, Lisa Layera-Brunkan, Susan McBurney