Library leaders identify strategies in “Fight for School Libraries”

For Immediate Release
Fri, 10/05/2018

Contact:

Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)

312-280-4383

jhabley@ala.org

CHICAGO – An executive summary released by the American Library Association (ALA) identifies systematic ways ALA, its divisions and offices, and the field of librarianship can support the nation’s school libraries. The strategies were developed by school, public and academic library leaders from across the country during the “Fight for School Libraries” summit convened by 2017-2018 ALA President Jim Neal.

The summary calls for ALA members and ALA staff, including all divisions, to demonstrate support for school libraries as possibilities arise within the association. Strategies include collecting quality data on standards and policies regarding school library staffing, funding and accreditation; developing compelling stories and messages for national and local community audiences; strengthening partnerships with public and academic libraries to further build support; and implementing support for school libraries consistently into political advocacy work.

Recognizing the need for urgent action to combat cuts in school library funding, staffing and programming, Neal tasked participants of the May 2018 summit with creating an ALA-wide strategy to support school libraries, school library workers, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), and the learners and communities school libraries serve.

“The summit brought together expertise and diverse experience from across the school library community to engage with academic, public and state library colleagues on strategies for community-wide advocacy for school library recognition and support,” explained Neal.

Participants reviewed the present state of the nation’s school libraries, identified future opportunities, and examined the impact of school libraries on the work of public and academic libraries. Using this information, the group then outlined the essential responsibilities of ALA and the library profession for supporting school libraries as unique and essential parts of the learning community.

“The ‘Fight for School Libraries’ summit was a serendipitous intersection of two presidential initiatives,” said AASL Immediate Past President Steven Yates. “Going into my presidential year, my goal was to strengthen, build, and explore coalitions across ALA by meeting with divisions, roundtables, and other groups. We need our colleagues across ALA to help us celebrate the unique skill set of today’s school librarians while developing stronger partnerships for advocacy. AASL truly appreciates ALA President Jim Neal convening the summit and building this concerted advocacy effort that stands to positively impact the future of all libraries for decades to come.”

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.