Monday, September 17, 2007


For Everyone Who Cares About
Young People,Literacy, and Libraries!


Parents, Teachers, Librarians,
Community Leaders, Literacy and Library Activists!!!

We need your help to ensure the inclusion of the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act in the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). This is the single most important piece of legislation concerning school libraries that will come before Congress this year. Reauthorization of this bill is critical to the future of school libraries.

Urgent Action Needed: This legislation is critical to the future of school library media specialists and the bill will be marked up by the week of September 24. Please contact your Representative immediately and ask him/her to co-sponsor the SKILLs Act.

When contacting your Representative prepare yourself to state why this issue is of critical importance:

The SKILLs Act
  • Requires school districts, to the extent feasible, to ensure that every school within the district employs at least one highly qualified school library media specialist in each school library;
  • Defines highly qualified school library media specialists as those who have a bachelor’s degree and have obtained full state certification as a school library media specialist or passed the state teacher licensing examination, with state certification in library media in such state;
  • Establishes as a state goal that there be at least one highly qualified school library media specialist in every public school no later than the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year;
  • Broadens the focus of training, professional development, and recruitment activities to include school library media specialists;
  • Ensures that funds will serve elementary, middle, and high school students;
  • Requires books and materials to be appropriate for and engage the interest of students in all grade levels and students with special learning needs, including English language learners.
Talking Points
  • Multiple studies have affirmed that there is a clear link between school library media programs that are staffed by a school library media specialist and student academic achievement. Across the United States, research has shown that students in schools with good school libraries learn more, get better grades, and score higher on standardized test scores than their peers in schools without libraries.
  • Academic Librarians: School libraries are KEY to ensuring college readiness.
  • Public Librarians: School library media specialists give students the skills they need to utilize your library to its fullest extent.
  • Long regarded as the cornerstone of the school community, school libraries are no longer just for books. Instead, they have become sophisticated 21st century learning environments offering a full range of print and electronic resources that provide equal learning opportunities to all students, regardless of the socio-economic or education levels of the community – but only when they are staffed by school library media specialists trained to collaborate with teachers and engage students meaningfully with information that matters to them both in the classroom and in the real world.
  • Only about 60 percent of our school libraries have a full-time, state-certified school library media specialist on staff.
  • With limited funding and an increased focus on school performance, administrators are trying to stretch dollars and cut funds across various programs to ensure that maximum resources are dedicated to improving student academic achievement.
  • Because NCLB does not highlight the direct correlation between school library media specialists and increased student academic achievement, library resource budgets are increasingly being used to mitigate the effects of budgetary shortfalls.
On September 24, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor will be considering reauthorization of the NCLB. In order for the SKILLs Act to be included in NCLB – that is, to place a highly qualified school library media specialist in every school – each member of the House must co-sponsor the SKILLS Act.

There is little more than two weeks to accomplish this goal and the name of your Representative must appear on this bill. If your Representative’s name does not appear as a co-sponsor, please call his/her office immediately and request that he/she support the SKILLs Act. If your Representative’s name DOES appear on this bill, contact his/her office and thank him/her for the continued support of school libraries and school library media specialists.

Raul Grijalva (AZ-7)
Vernon Ehlers (MI-3)

Bart Gordon (TN-6)
Tim Holden (PA-17)
Steve Cohen (TN-9)
James McGovern (MA-3)

1. Fax or call your State Representative to tell him or her to support the
2. To find out the name, fax, and email address of your congressional representatives, go to:
3. Be sure to write or speak respectfully, be direct, state your support of the SKILLS act and the reasons why you support its enactment.

For more information go to:

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