Thursday, August 18, 2011

Activist Alert!

SKILLS Act Provides Funding
for the Future of School Libraries
YOUR Support Is Needed

Please call both of your U.S. senators at the capitol switchboard, 202-224-3121, and ask them to co-sponsor S. 1328 the “Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries Act” or the SKILLs Act. 

The SKILLs Act was introduced on July 6 by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and will amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by:
  •  Ensuring that funds will serve school libraries in elementary, middle, and high schools;
  • Improving literacy and college and career readiness through effective school library programs;
  • Encouraging coordination and shared planning time among school librarians and classroom teachers;
  •  Expanding professional development to include digital literacy instruction that is appropriate for all grade levels, an assessment of student literacy needs, the coordination of reading and writing instruction across content areas, and training in literacy strategies in all content areas;
  • Requiring books and materials to be appropriate for students in all grade levels and students with special learning needs, including English language learners;
  • Providing grants on a competitive basis for a period of three years;
  • Targeting funding to school districts with 20% or greater levels of students in poverty;
  • Ensuring an equitable distribution of funds among the different geographic regions of the country and among urban and rural areas; and
  • Requiring greater coordination among other literacy, technology, and professional development funds and activities.
This legislation is critical to the future of school libraries. Please call today and encourage your colleagues, neighbors, friends, family, and others to do the same.  Click here to quickly find information for your two senators. 

Senators who have already agreed to co-sponsor the bill include: 

Jack Reed (D-RI)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
John Kerry (D-MA)

For more information about how you can support literacy and libraries, please visit the NCBLA's "Become an Activist" page.