WASHINGTON — On Thursday, September 11, Pennsylvania State Librarian Mary Clare Zales will testify before the House of Representatives, on how libraries are essential to the American public in the 21st Century.
Representing the American Library Association (ALA), the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Ms. Zales’ testimony highlights the variety of services that libraries provide to their patrons across the nation. Examples of these services included youth literacy programs, E-Government services, programs for non-English speakers, information literacy training, and career development assistance. “Libraries are reaching new populations in new ways,” Zales said. “Their presence in the community is growing.”
The current economic slowdown has produced a swell of activity for libraries. A surge in patron use has provided another example of the invaluable presence of libraries in communities nationwide. “The public library plays an even more important role as Americans are facing tough economic times,” said Zales. “Library usage is up ten percent from the last economic downturn in 2001.”
Ms. Zales added, “The funding invested in public libraries is a wise and fruitful investment as all aspects of the community benefit. Libraries support the development and care of young children and families, support formal education and strengthen local economies. Libraries add richness and quality to the life of adults, seniors and special populations.”
The hearing of the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities will be held on Thursday, September 11, 2008 in Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building, 1st St. and Independence Ave., Washington, DC. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. It is open to the public, with limited seating on a first-come, first-served basis.
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 66,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information.