Friday, October 21, 2011

Congressional Hearings on the SKILLS ACT

On October 17, 2011, the American School Library Association (AASL) held a congressional briefing in Washington, DC on "Education Reform and the SKILLS ACT: An Analysis of 21st Century School Librarians and Their Impact on Career and College Readiness".  Presentations were in conjunction with Representative Rush Holt (NJ) and Senator Jack Reed (RI).  

A number of speakers brief members of Congress at Congressional Hearings on the SKILLS ACT: 

  • Carl Harvey, school librarian, North Elementary School (Ind.), AASL president
  • Donna L. Haye, assistant superintendent, Atlantic City Public Schools (N.J.), an AASL Distinguished School Administrator
  • William A. Mayer, university librarian, American University (D.C.), international speaker and leader on the changing face of services in libraries
  • Kathy Mortimer, parent from Henrico County Public Schools (Va.) an AASL National School Library Program of the Year
  • Connie Williams, National Board Certified Teacher Librarian, Petaluma High School (Calif.), AASL legislative committee chair
The AASL has created a number of supporting documents and videos on the briefings at

The bottom line is that there is an important role for strong school libraries from elementary through college, if we want our students to be effective and creative users of information in class, college and careers.  Dollars for job creation should be directed to schools for strengthening school library teams, providing more student access to school libraries and teacher librarians.  It makes sense when you know the story of what 21st century school libraries look like.  See the AASL Standards for 21st Century Learners and individual state standards such as California's Model School Library Standards.

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