As the national debate over education continues, we commend Senators Jack Reed, Chuck Grassley, Debbie Stabenow, Roger Wicker and Olympia Snowe for recognizing the importance of supporting children’s access to books and literacy services, especially through their school libraries. Ensuring that all children, especially those from disadvantaged communities, can learn to love reading which helps them attain a 21st century education to prepare for college and career.
In their letter to the Senate Chairmen and Ranking Members, they stated:
Literacy remains at the core of academic achievement for all children, and is a strong indicator for long-term success and opportunity. Exposure to books is an essential part of early childhood literacy and preparation for school. yet, two-thirds of America’s children living in poverty have no books at home, and the number of families living in poverty is on the rise. Additionally, we know that access to effective school library programs, staffed by trained school librarians, has a positive impact on student achievement, and offers students a way to develop and hone skills, including how to find and use information, that are critical for meeting college and career-ready standards.
By providing funding for book distribution, early literacy services, and effective school library programs, the Senate Appropriations Committee made an important statement about the importance of ensuring that disadvantaged students have access to these critical tools for success in school and in life. We are grateful for your leadership in this area and urge you to ensure that this critical funding is included in the bill that is sent to the President.
The full text of their letter is available here (pdf). We thank these senators for this important step and encourage library advocates of all stripes to do the same. Please contact Senators Jack Reed, Chuck Grassley, Debbie Stabenow, Roger Wicker and Olympia Snowe and let them know you appreciate their support for libraries.