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House passes aid package that may save school librarian jobs

Contact: Jenni Terry
Press Officer
ALA Washington Office
(202) 628-8410

For Immediate Release
August 10, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 1586, a $26-billion state aid package intended to prevent layoffs of educators and other state and local government workers with a vote of 247-161, sending the bill to the president for his signature. $10 billion will go specifically to education, and school librarians can benefit from this funding.

“The inclusion of school libraries in this supplemental funding bill indicates that Congress is beginning to recognize the fundamental role of school librarians and school libraries in a child’s education,” said Emily Sheketoff, director of the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office.

“For too long, school libraries have been under-funded on both the federal and state levels, robbing countless American students of the instruction they need to obtain 21st century skills that equip them to excel in other subjects and prepare students for college and the workplace.”

Sheketoff says the ALA will continue to lobby for additional support to school libraries, specifically for the inclusion of school libraries in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The package included “off-sets” rescinding funding from other sources in the federal budget, and the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) was one program that received a cut of $302 million from the money that was appropriated in last year’s stimulus bill. BTOP is a package of stimulus programs originally funded at $4.7 billion for building out broadband infrastructure and related technologies and services, including funding for public computing centers (PCCs) in libraries.

“The funding rescinded from the BTOP program is disappointing, as recent economic events have shown how critical funding from the stimulus program has supplied many communities with more up-to-date technology,” Sheketoff said.

“We are working to ensure that Congress will continue to invest in libraries and other anchor institutions through future initiatives as our nation works toward national broadband build-out.”

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