Author Pam Muñoz Ryan stands up for school librarians in op-ed

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/19/2011

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CHICAGO - Pam Muñoz Ryan, author of such books as "The Dreamer" and a longtime advocate on behalf of school libraries, recently wrote an opinion piece on the value of school libraries and librarians for Sign On San Diego, the website of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Making the connection between school libraries and literacy, she urged, "Let’s choose to be a literate society.”

Muñoz Ryan, who has written more than 30 books for young people, says in the piece: “When a library is staffed by a professional, it becomes the most far-reaching service in the school, nurturing the rich and poor, the literate and those learning to be literate, the athlete, the musician, the class clown and the class artist. The school library is often a gathering place and safe haven for students. It is a service for which every person on campus benefits.

“The school librarian often holds the school’s literary climate in the palm of the hand. A library without a librarian often becomes stagnant and falls into disrepair. Imagine a classroom without a teacher, or an orchestra without a conductor.

She also wrote: “Library programs need the public’s support now more than ever. We cannot afford to lose the academic enrichment that a library brings to a school community. Please urge your congressional representatives to restore the federal budget for libraries in the coming year. Restored funding would go to improving literacy through school libraries, a Department of Education program to update books, materials and other important school library programs."

Muñoz Ryan is among several authors who have contributed their voices to a series of author public service announcements (PSAs) that are available to library advocates as part of the American Library Association's (ALA) “Our Authors, Our Advocates” initiative. The PSAs, by such authors as Brad Meltzer,  Neil Gaiman, Kathy Reichs and Carmen Agra Deedy, are available by visiting www.ilovelibraries.org/ourauthorsouradvocates.

Participating authors provide a variety of video PSAs on such issues as library funding, literacy, value of school libraries and much more. Library advocates are encouraged to share the PSAs via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or embed to relevant Web pages.  Libraries, friends groups and library supporters are welcome to download videos and add their own logos and music.     

 “Authors are the natural allies of libraries in these challenging times,” said ALA President Roberta Stevens. “They understand the key role libraries and library staff play in the economic, social and educational fabric of our nation. ‘Our Authors, Our Advocates’ will focus on using these well-known and passionate individuals to speak out on the importance of not only sustaining but increasing support for libraries.”