ALA to release “Our Authors, Our Advocates” advocacy tools

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/04/2010

Contact:

Macey Morales
Video PSAs featuring  Sharon Draper, Brad Meltzer, Sara Paretsky and Scott Turow; other advocacy tools available Jan. 7, 2011
 
CHICAGO –On Jan. 7, 2011 the American Library Association (ALA) will unveil video PSAs produced by ALA’s “Our Authors, Our Advocates,” a national library advocacy public awareness campaign. Library advocates will be able to download audio and video PSAs from ilovelibraries.org, from such best-selling authors as Sharon Draper, Brad Meltzer, Sara Paretsky and Scott Turow.  The website will also offer statistics to assist advocates with making the case for libraries. 
 
As the demand for library resources continues to soar, deep budget cuts are forcing libraries to make difficult choices.  A majority (56 percent) of libraries report flat or decreased operating budgets in FY2010, up from just over 40 percent in FY2009. Data from the American Library Association’s 2010 State of America’s Library Report also shows 41 percent of the states experienced a decline in state funding for public libraries during the current fiscal year. Lack of funding has been compounded by reductions of funding at the local level – creating a snowball effect that has forced many libraries to cut hours, reduce staffing, charge fees and fines, or explore privatization.
 
Through “Our Authors, Our Advocates,” one of ALA President Roberta Stevens’ key presidential initiatives, authors will lend their support for libraries through media interviews, podcasts, public service announcements and other marketing materials. The materials will be free and made available to ALA membership for use at the local level to assist with advocacy efforts.
 
“Authors understand the key roles libraries play and are natural allies in these challenging times,” said ALA President Roberta Stevens. “‘Our Authors, Our Advocates’ will highlight well-known and passionate authors that will speak out on the value of and importance of sustaining library service.”
 
Participating authors taped :15, :20 and :30 second video PSAs on such issues as library funding, libraries support of literacy, value of libraries and much more. Authors also shared personal stories on their love for libraries which also will be available for download.
 
Dr. Sharon M. Draper is a professional educator as well as an accomplished writer. She has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year, is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scot King Literary Award, and is a New York Times best-selling author.
 
Author Brad Meltzer has topped the New York Times’ bestseller list on numerous occasions.Meltzer is the host of Brad Meltzer's Decoded on the History Channel and his newest thriller, “The Inner Circle,” will be released January 11, 2011. 
 
Mystery author Sara Paretsky is the winner of the Mystery Writers of America's 2011 Grand Master Award and credited with transforming the mystery genre through the creation of her female private eye, V I Warshawski, Paretsky has written 12 best-selling Warshawski novels and is an international bestselling author with works appearing in almost thirty languages.
 
Scott Turow is a writer and attorney. He is the author of nine best-selling works of fiction, including his first novel “Presumed Innocent” (1987) and its sequel, “Innocent” (May 4, 2010). His works of non-fiction include "One L" (1977) about his experience as a law student, and “Ultimate Punishment” (2003), a reflection on the death penalty. He frequently contributes essays and op-ed pieces to publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Playboy and The Atlantic.
 
At a later date ILoveLibraries.org will feature audio PSAs and stories from authors Carmen Agra Deedy,  “14 Cows for America;” Laurie Halse Anderson, “Chains;” Holly Black, “White Cat;” Tony DiTerlizzi, “The Search for WondLa;” M.T. Anderson, Octavian Nothing series and Judith Viorst, “Lulu and the Brontosaurus”   
 
Our Authors, Our Advocates is one of two presidential initiatives launching at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. The other, Why I Need My Library, encourages teens ages 13 to 18 to create original videos on why they think libraries are needed now more than ever.  More information is available at www.ilovelibraries.org.  
 
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 61,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information.
 
For more information on the 2011 Annual ALA Conference, please visit the ALA Conference Web site at www.ala.org/annual, or contact ALA Media Relations Manager Macey Morales at (312) 280-4393, mmorales@ala.org, or ALA PR Coordinator Jennifer Petersen at (312) 280-5043, jpetersen@ala.org.