ALA announces new Task Force on School Libraries

Contact: Mark Gould

Director, ALA Public Information Office

For Immediate Release

July 19, 2005

ALA announces new Task Force on School Libraries

(Chicago) – The American Library Association (ALA) announces the formation of a new Task Force on School Libraries, in response to the urgent need to support and maintain school library programs and certified school librarians across the nation.

The Task Force was approved by the ALA Executive Board at its spring board meeting in April 2005, and represents a major step in implementing the resolution on school libraries and librarians approved by ALA Council at the 2003 Annual Meeting.

The Special Task Force on School Libraries is charged with providing an overall assessment of the current state of school library service in America, based on existing data; identifying the most critical issues and trends affecting school libraries and school library media specialists; evaluating various options for responding to those issues; and making recommendations regarding practical strategies that the ALA can undertake to support and strengthen school library services nationwide.

“Despite growing research documenting the positive impact of school libraries on student achievement, there is growing concern about the future of school library media programs in this country,” said Barbara Stripling, chair of the new Task Force. “Without proactive efforts to reverse these trends, we will end up with a serious crisis on our hands.”

The twelve members of the Task Force on School Libraries appointed by ALA Immediate Past President Carol Brey-Casiano are: Chair, Barbara Stripling, Director of Library Services, New York City Dept. of Education; Kathleen Bethel, African American Studies Librarian, Northwestern University Library, Evanston, Ill.; Walter Betts, Systems Librarian, Dallas (Texas) ISD Libraries; Nancy Davenport, President, Council on Library and Information Resources, Washington; Barbara Jeffus, Library School Consultant, California Department of Education, Sacramento; Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, Deputy Director, Detroit Public Library; Karen Lemmons, Library Media Specialist; Howe Elementary School, Detroit; Katherine Lowe, Library Director, Boston Arts Academy/Fenway High School Library; Sara Parker, Missouri State Librarian, State Information Center, Jefferson City, Mo.; Marguerite Ritchey, Vice President, Board of Trustees, Summit County Library, Silverthorne, Colo.; Helen Spalding, University Librarian, Portland (Ore.) State University; Pat Wand, University Librarian, American University, Washington.

The Task Force met during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago last month and will report back to the Executive Board and Council at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in January 2006.