Obama’s speech highlights how libraries serve everyday Americans, students

Contact: Jenni Terry

ALA Washington Office

(202) 628-8410



For Immediate Release

February 25, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. –The American Library Association (ALA) lauds President Barack Obama for noting how libraries assist Americans during the president’s address to Congress last night.

The president shared a story about Ty’Sheoma Bethea, a young student from South Carolina, who went to her local public library to write a letter to Congress to tell them how students today are committed to their education and determined to change the world.

“This anecdote not only shows how engaged the young people in our country are, but it also sheds light on how important the library is to these students,” ALA President Jim Rettig said.

“The public library is the only source of no-fee access to the Internet for 73 percent of communities and a place where individuals like Ty’Sheoma can access computers and technology as well as benefit from the trusted guidance of a librarian. I thank President Obama for sharing Ty’Sheoma’s inspiring story. I hope it encourages our nation’s governors to use stimulus money wisely to ensure that every community has a local library – a library open ample hours with a librarian to help every child like Ty’Sheoma who needs a place to study or aspire. Our libraries are important not only to our youth, but also to adults; libraries are helping to rebuild the economy through assistance with online job searching and resume development, education on personal finances, and other services that respond to today’s pressing needs.”

For more information on how libraries are working to continue serving the needs of their communities, especially during this time of economic downturn, go to