For immediate release | October 19, 2011

AASL congressional briefing supports the SKILLS Act

CHICAGO – On Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, representatives of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) presented a congressional briefing to advocate for the inclusion of the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLS) Act in the upcoming Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization.

The briefing, “Education Reform and the SKILLs Act: An Analysis of Twenty-First Century School Libraries and Their Impact on Career and College Preparedness,” covered how the SKILLs Act supports and sustains 21st century school libraries. The act ensures that every school is served by a state-certified school librarian and the school library program has access to the resources students need to become lifelong learners.

“AASL put together a terrific briefing for a standing room only crowd on what makes an effective school library program,” said Emily Sheketoff, ALA Washington Office executive director. “Staff from the Senate and the House, Republicans and Democrats listened to education professionals talk about the innovative things being done in school libraries across the nation.”

“With mark-up of ESEA scheduled to begin on Wednesday, October 19, it is imperative that school library supporters continue to inform their Congressional representatives about this legislation,” said Carl Harvey, AASL president. “Especially critical are calls from constituents of those senators serving on the Senate HELP Committee.”

Videos and materials from the briefing, including the PowerPoint and a leave-behind brochure, can be viewed on the AASL website at Presented in conjunction with Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.) and Rep. Rush Holt (N.J.), briefing presenters included:

  • Carl Harvey, school librarian, North Elementary School (Ind.), AASL president
  • Donna L. Haye, assistant superintendent, Atlantic City Public Schools (N.J.), an AASL Distinguished School Administrator
  • William A. Mayer, university librarian, American University (D.C.), international speaker and leader on the changing face of services in libraries
  • Kathy Mortimer, parent from Henrico County Public Schools (Va.) an AASL National School Library Program of the Year
  • Connie Williams, National Board Certified Teacher Librarian, Petaluma High School (Calif.), AASL legislative committee chair

The American Association of School Librarians,, 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.


Jennifer Habley