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School library provision included in reintroduction of SKILLS Act

The Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act (S. 1328), reintroduced by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) on July 6, includes key provisions to support school libraries.

The American Library Association lobbied for inclusion of this language in the SKILLS Act to ensure that all students in the United States have access to effective and up-to-date school libraries.  The bipartisan bill was co-sponsored by Senators Patti Murray (D-WA), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

“Knowing how to find and use information are essential skills for today’s students and tomorrows workers. A good school library, staffed by a trained librarian, is where students develop and hone these skills,” said long-time library champion Sen. Reed in his statement following the introduction of the bill.

The American Library Association (ALA) would like to thank Senator Reed and Senator Cochran on their leadership in introducing the SKILLs Act in the 112th Congress, as well as the other co-sponsors who understand the importance an effective school library plays in the education of a child.

S. 1328 was referred to the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.  A date for a mark-up has not been set.

The ALA calls on all education supporters to contact their Senators and express support for S. 1328. To find and be connected to a specific Senator, go to the ALA’s Legislative Action center:

Emily Sheketoff, executive director
ALA Washington Office

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One Comment

  1. Karen Krueger Karen Krueger

    I recently read the School Library Journal article, titled “He’s Got Your Back,” about Senator Jack Reed and his mission to introduce specific language into current ESEA legislation that would require school libraries to be staffed by a state certified or licensed librarian in order for dedicated funding to go out to the schools. I am a certified school librarian in central Texas, and this addition of language cannot come fast enough. School library doors are closing at least part-time in the name of budget cuts, and these closures are sending a message to students that reading, research, and the ability to discern and make quality judgements about sources of information are not as important as other school programs that are being funded and kept “open.” It is critical that our profession rally together to try to get language into legislation that will support school library programs before our student’s freedoms and rights to fair and equitable education are significantly impacted by the cuts to school library funding and staffing.

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