ALA proud to participate in White House Conference on School Libraries

Contact: Larra Clark


For Immediate Release

June 4, 2002

ALA proud to participate in White House Conference on School Libraries

School library media specialists welcome national focus

American Library Association (ALA) President John W. Berry and American Association of School Librarians (AASL) President Helen Adams are proud to join Mrs. Laura Bush today at the White House Conference on School Libraries. They will join in a discussion on the latest research on libraries, student achievement and successful local programs. Bob Martin, director of the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, is co-host for the conference. AASL Director Julie Walker and ALA Washington Office Director Emily Sheketoff also are attending the conference.

"I applaud the White House for focusing national attention on our school libraries and librarians," Berry said. "For many children, the school library media specialist is their first experience with a librarian. These information professionals play a critical role in teaching students how to select, use and understand information in all formats."

Mrs. Bush is a former librarian and a longtime supporter of public and school libraries. She organized the conference to call attention to the role libraries play in America's schools and communities and to make a major announcement about the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries.

"Research shows the highest achieving students attend schools with good library media centers," Adams said. "Today's school library media program plays an integral role in educating children for the future. At the same time, however, we are facing tight budgets and a pressing need to recruit new school librarians. We need to fully fund the President's Reading First Initiative so that we can get funds to schools in all 50 states. I'm thrilled to be here discussing issues so close to my heart."

Almost 39 million elementary, middle school and high school students use a school library media center every week.

More information about the White House Conference and school libraries and librarians can be found
online. AASL is a division of the ALA.