CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has issued a position statement on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The statement can be found on the AASL website at www.ala.org/aasl/positionstatements.
When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed in early 2009 by the U.S. Congress, AASL seized the opportunity to communicate the essential role of school librarians in the aggressive education reforms set by President Obama and United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. AASL is asking President Obama to recall his past statement of support on the role libraries play in a student's education - "to give our children a fair shot to thrive in a global, information-age economy, we will equip thousands of schools, community colleges and universities with 21st-century classrooms, labs and libraries."
"School librarians have an outcomes-based job description that captures what is needed to be an effective educator in the 21st century," said Mirah Dow, chair of AASL's legislative committee. "They are taught to be effective educators and are often skilled in one or more content areas other than librarianship."
State-by-state, research shows that students in a school with a fully staffed school library program led by certified school librarians learn more, get better grades and score higher on standardized tests. School librarians provide an immediate solution for those who believe the educational system in the U.S. needs an overhaul. School librarians are trained to teach guided inquiry methods and are knowledgeable in the school's curriculum.
AASL's position statement on the Reauthorization of the ESEA makes certain that school librarians are counted in the four key education assurances: data usage, student goals, teacher recruitment and the approach to turning around troubled schools. AASL's "Standards for the 21st-Century Learner" provide a basis for school librarians to be a part of each of these assurances and are consistent with other state-led initiatives for education reform.
"School libraries are laboratories for students to learn the multiple skills that are crucial for this century," said AASL President Nancy Everhart. "School librarians understand that all students are innately creative, curious and motivated and foster those qualities through innovative teaching approaches."
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.