Congress passes strong support for U.S. school libraries in Elementary and Secondary Education Act

For Immediate Release
Thu, 07/16/2015


Jazzy Wright
Press Officer
Washington Office

WASHINGTON, D.C.—After years of delay, the U.S. Senate today voted to reauthorize and modernize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the federal government’s primary education statute, by passing the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. Before passing the legislation, the U.S. Senate amended ESEA to include the Reed-Cochran Amendment, which will help save and expand school libraries in every state in the nation by explicitly authorizing school districts to use federal funds to develop and foster effective school library programs.

The American Library Association (ALA), which represents more than 55,000 librarians nationwide, today applauded the U.S. Senate’s actions to modernize ESEA and support effective school library programs. Multiple studies over the years clearly demonstrate that effective school library programs help all students do better academically, even when other school variables are considered.

“Strong and effective school library programs with professional librarians provide students with invaluable access to support, resources and tools. This makes a big difference for students who do not have access to high-speed Internet or books at home. This makes a big difference in student success,” said ALA President Sari Feldman. “We would like to thank Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) for their dedication and hard work to supporting thriving educational centers in schools.”

The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 contains several provisions in support of libraries, including state and local planning requirements related to developing effective school library programs and digital literacy skills; professional development activities for school librarians; partnership opportunities for libraries; and competitive grants for developing and enhancing effective school library programs.

Moving forward, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate will attempt to conference the bill to resolve differences between the chambers.  ALA strongly supports the Every Child Achieves Act and looks forward to working with members – in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle – to complete reauthorization of ESEA.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 55,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.