Library leaders head to the White House

Last week, the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) arranged a meeting to bring together library leaders with President Barack Obama’s Domestic Policy Council staff as part of the week long activities for National Library Legislative Day. As part of the meeting, the group discussed where library priorities meshed with the President’s agenda.

Carolyn Brodie, President of ALSC, tells Mary Wells and Susan Hildreth about the exemplary programs ALSC members are offering around early childhood learning and parental engagement.

Above, Carolyn Brodie, president of Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), tells Domestic Policy Assistant Mary Wells and IMLS Director Susan Hildreth about the exemplary programs ALSC members are offering around early childhood learning and parental engagement. In the photo, Brodie is talking about Every Child Ready to Read and showing Wells a handout highlighting: talking, singing, reading, writing and playing. Brodie encouraged the Obama Administration to visit one of the 330 excellent programs across the country that are doing just that!

Jack Martin

Jack Martin, President of Young Adult Library Services Association, spoke with Steve Robinson of the Domestic Policy Council staff about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Martin talked about the important part librarians, in both public and school libraries, play for children working in STEM.

Eva Poole, President of PLA, spoke to the group about what public libraries are doing for immigrants, especially around English as a second language and civics education.

Eva Poole, president of the Public Library Association, spoke to the group about what public libraries are doing for immigrants, especially around English as a second language and civic education. She followed up with how important public libraries are for health information and what an important part they could play with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Mandy Cohen from the Department of Health and Human Services

Mandy Cohen from the Department of Health and Human Services was very interested in what Poole had to say and has already followed up to see what we can do to help each other. As Poole pointed out, we know our patrons will come to us to ask about these new insurance pools and what are the new requirements and we need good information from the federal government.

Maureen Sullivan

ALA President Maureen Sullivan ended the meeting by tying together what Brodie, Martin and Poole said and very positively saying that libraries serve their communities in all these areas and we look forward to hearing President Obama and Michelle Obama mention libraries and what we are doing on these important issues!

The Domestic Policy Council staff left very enthusiastic, and both IMLS and ALA leadership were pleased by the eagerness of the meeting. Now, we look forward to seeing how successful we were.

About Emily Sheketoff

Emily Sheketoff is the Executive Director of the American Library Association's Washington Office.

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