Monday, January 23, 2012

Open letter to librarians everywhere!

It is not enough for you to sign. We need more!
Dear Fellow Librarians:

This weekend at ALA Midwinter, there was a massive push to collect signatures for AASL President Carl Harvey's appeal to launch a conversation at the federal level about securing a librarian for every K-12 school.

As you may remember, this is the second petition this school year. One was drafted in October, and it failed because we were unable to collect the required number of signatures. So we are trying again.

In spite of HUGE efforts from conference leaders and attendees, we actually went backwards this weekend.

As of Saturday, we needed to collect 1,000 signatures per day until our petition expired, but we only collected 726 over the weekend. Now we need 1160 per day, every day, until 2/4/2012.

How can we achieve this? There are 60,000 ALA members (ALA, not AASL). The current number of ESEA signatures represents 18% of that total body, many of whom are not as invested as school librarians in this initiative. We need to reach out to other communities - not just librarian communities.

We need to involve vendors, colleagues, students (13 years-old and over - this is a great civics lesson, by the way!), family, friends, etc. It's not enough to sign, There simply aren't enough of "us" to push this through.

On Saturday, Follett Software responded to a Twit-plea: "@mluhtala - We support @aasl @caharvey2 ESEA petition 4 k-12 libraries". This is excellent! We are so appreciative! Is it enough? Only if the organization asks its employees to sign, and then encourage colleagues, friends and family to do the same. Let's face it, they have a stake in this too! Everyone who relies on school librarians to acquire or promote their products does. It's a very, very long list, but here is a start: Gale/Cengage, ProQuest, EBSCO, ABC-CLIO, EasyBib, NoodleTools, School Library Journal, Barnes and Noble, SlideRocket, Glogster, Animoto, EdModo, and so on.

The upside of all this is advocacy. The conversation alone reminds people about the essential-ness of school librarians' role in teaching and learning. We are more indispensable now than ever before. But every time we launch a new petition, our effort is diluted by prior failed attempts. If this one fails, many solicitees will likely say, "Oh no, that thing again?" the next time we launch one. So PLEASE participate in this effort. While your signature is appreciated, it is not enough! We need more. And just in case you missed the link, here it is:

Thank you!

AASL Region I

On a related note, Mike McQueen, a school librarian in Denver, CO invited me to "like" and post to his new Support School Libraries Facebook page - kudos to Mike for getting it going, and here is the back story:

"I'm Mike McQueen, teacher librarian and founder of ( Like many school districts, we are in a financial crises. Our school board recently proposed to eliminate ALL 20+ middle school teacher librarians and also cut all 90+ elementary schools to half time. Since we are the biggest district in all of Colorado, we worry this will cause other districts to follow suit. We launched an online movement and are going to do our best to put up a good fight. If possible, please visit our Facebook page and "Like" us  . Adding a positive comment and sharing with your friends would help our morale as well. The board finalizes the budget soon so your timely support would be greatly appreciated!"

Go Mike! Go Colorado! Go school librarians, everywhere!

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