California School Librarian Testifies on ESEA, NCLB Reauthorization

Contact: Andy Bridges
ALA Washington Office
For Immediate Release
September 10, 2007

California School Librarian Testifies on ESEA, NCLB Reauthorization

WASHINGTON – Today, California school librarian Mary K. Poeck testified on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the importance of having a highly qualified school library media specialist in every school.

The ESEA, which regulates the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), is being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor, and Ms. Poeck’s testimony spoke to the vital role of the school library in education and the need for legislation like the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act.

"Multiple studies… have affirmed that there is a clear link between school library media programs and student achievement, when those libraries are staffed by an experienced school library media specialist," Ms. Poeck said in her testimony. "[The SKILLs Act] is critical to meeting the goals of NCLB in that it requires school districts, to the extent feasible, to ensure that every school within the district employs at least one highly qualified school library media specialist in each school library."

ALA has applauded the objectives of NCLB, but believes the same standards being applied in our classrooms should be extended to our nation’s school libraries.

"Through the personal experience and national statistics conveyed in her testimony, Ms. Poeck makes a slam-dunk case for including school libraries and school librarians in any legislation concerning this country’s educators," said ALA President Loriene Roy.

"The skills needed to function successfully in a 21st century global workforce have gone beyond reading," Ms. Poeck continued. "Business leaders are concerned that people are now entering the workforce without information literacy skills… which equip people with the ability to think critically and work proficiently. Who better to teach information literacy than librarians, the information experts."