ALTAFF presented the 2012 Public Service Award to Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) during National Library Legislative Day activities in Washington, D.C., on April 23, 2012.
In Congress, Rep. Holt introduced the Workforce Investments through Local Libraries (WILL) Act to integrate libraries into job training efforts, a bill that was endorsed by ALA. Along with Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), he introduced the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLS) Act, which would establish a goal of having not less than one highly qualified school librarian in each public school. In addition, it proposes to increase student academic achievement through strategies such as improving teacher, school librarian and principal quality and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in the classroom, highly qualified school librarians and highly qualified principals and assistant principals in schools.
On his website, Rep. Holt writes, “America’s libraries are more widely used today than at any other point in history, with more than three quarters of Americans having visited a library in the last year. Yet these are trying times for libraries. Even as libraries have lost funding from towns, counties and states, they have experienced a surge in demand due to the millions of Americans looking for jobs and finding them using library services … The demand is not just for computers, but also for qualified librarians who can offer guidance on how to set-up an e-mail account, use resume formats and file an online job application or unemployment claim.”