ALA: Rep. Ehlers continues to be a strong voice for America’s libraries

Contact: Jenni Terry

Press Officer

ALA Washington Office

(202) 628-8410

For Immediate Release

November 20, 2009

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Vernon Ehlers (MI-3) put a spotlight on the critical role of school and public libraries in improving the literacy skills of children and young adults Thursday during a House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education hearing.

Ehlers, long regarded as a champion for libraries by the American Library Association (ALA), asked a panel of education and literacy experts testifying at the hearing how Congress could utilize libraries to advance the literacy skills of our nation’s young students. Panelist Dr. Dorothy Strickland, Professor Emeritus at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, reiterated the ALA’s position that every school library should employ a state-certified school librarian.

“We thank Congressman Ehlers for appropriately inserting libraries into this discussion, as libraries and librarians are vital resources for increasing the literacy skills of today’s youth,” ALA President Camila Alire said.

“School libraries are not simply book depositories – they are a classroom where students should receive instruction from a certified school librarian, who knows the school’s curriculum and effective techniques necessary to cross disciplines and integrate information and technology literacy. Studies have demonstrated that students in schools with good school libraries learn more, get better grades, and score higher on standardized tests than their peers in schools without such resources, and we greatly appreciate Ehlers for highlighting libraries in the current discussions about how Congress can reshape and improve our nation’s education policies.”