ANAHEIM, Calif. — The American Library Association (ALA) Council has passed a resolution in support of school libraries.
The resolution, passed at the ALA Annual Conference, held June 21-26 in Anaheim, Calif., directs the ALA to lead the association in “addressing the urgent need for advocacy on behalf of school libraries and librarians.”
It also directs the ALA to address the impact of the “de-professionalization and curtailment of school library instructional programs” on students and student achievement.
The resolution calls on ALA to encourage state associations and affiliates to influence legislation requiring secure adequate funding and appropriate staffing of school libraries, placing a high priority on seeing that upcoming ESEA legislation “recognizes and specifically supports the necessity for effective school library programs and credentialed school librarians.”
In addition, it urges ALA to work toward encouraging federal lobbying efforts to include school libraries in legislation and regulations, as well as to seek partnerships with national organizations to sustain school libraries.
The resolution acknowledges that “school librarians help students acquire unique skills not taught in the classroom and information and technology skills essential for students in the 21st Century.” It cites research conducted in 22 states and a Canadian province indicating the value of a strong library program led by a credentialed librarian.
The resolution was strongly supported by public and academic librarians on the council floor who cited the noticeable impact in their institutions when school libraries are not strong. The resolution passed Council unanimously.
“School libraries are particularly critical to help close the achievement gap of students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds,” the resolution reads.