AASL President recognizes Senator Jack Reed with AASL Crystal Apple

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/24/2012

Contact:

Jennifer Habley
Manager, Web Communications
American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
800-545-2433 ext.4383
jhabley@ala.org

CHICAGO — The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) President Carl Harvey has selected Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island as the recipient of the 2012 Crystal Apple. The honor is given at the discretion of the AASL president to an individual or group that has had a significant impact on school library programs and students.

“I selected Senator Jack Reed for the Crystal Apple for his years of unwavering support for school libraries,” said Harvey.  “Senator Reed has been a strong advocate working to secure support and funding for school libraries in Congress. He truly gets the value and importance of 21st century school libraries in our education ecosystem and has been helping to spread that message as he works with his colleagues in Congress.  With the Crystal Apple, we recognize and thank him for all his work and efforts to support school libraries as a critical part of preparing students for their future.”

Senator Reed has proven himself to be a strong and vocal supporter of the role the school library program plays in the education of the nation’s students.  In July of 2011, Senator Reed and Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi reintroduced the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act and included key provisions to support school libraries.  In the following October, in conjunction with Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey, Senator Reed invited AASL representatives to present a congressional briefing to advocate for the inclusion of the SKILLs Act in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization.  

When the SKILLs act was withdrawn due to lack of support on the committee and the HELP committee recommended ESEA without a library provision, Senator Reed continued to stand firm on the need for support for school libraries.  Recently, he and Sen. Olympia Snow sent a letter with bi-partisan support to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee asking for funding for the Library Services and Technology Act.  His efforts have resulted in $28.6 million for school libraries and literacy programs in this year’s appropriations law.  A minimum of half of those must go to low income school libraries.

Harvey presented the apple to Senator Reed in a special ceremony taking place during National Library Legislation Day (NLLD) on April 23. In addition to the Crystal Apple, Senator Reed was bestowed with an Honorary Membership by the American Library Association (ALA) in recognition of his continuing and unwavering support of libraries in the U.S. Congress. NLLD is held every spring in Washington, D.C., and is a full day dedicated to reminding elected officials why libraries are so important.  

“I am honored and grateful to receive these prestigious awards.  I’d like to thank the ALA, the AASL and the librarians of Rhode Island who nurtured my love of books as a young man, and whose wisdom and dedication helped inspire me to take action and focus attention and resources on libraries nationwide,” said Reed.  “Andrew Carnegie, a great Honorary ALA member, once said: ‘A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people.  It is a never failing spring in the desert.’  I agree.  Libraries play a central role, not just in education but also as a place where the community can come together, a source of common ground and knowledge.  And today, with more people turning to libraries as a technology and job hunting resource, libraries are more important than ever.”

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.