[Libs-Or] Urgent Call to Action! Ask your Senators to support library funding!

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 29 14:02:29 PDT 2009

This is a reminder that we need to have you contact your Senators and have
them sign onto the Dear Colleague letter supporting library funding.  It is
VERY important that you do this by May 5.  Below is a list of the Senators
that have signed the letter.  There are only 9 of them and we need 60.
Thank you for taking the time to contact your Senators.

    Action Alert   http://capwiz.com/ala/home/
  *Urgent Call to Action! Ask your Senators to support library
funding!*  Please
contact your Senators and ask them to sign the "Dear Colleague" letter being
circulated by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in support
of funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the
Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program. *

The deadline to sign the letter is Tuesday May 5!  *LSTA and Improving
Literacy Through School Libraries are two of the most important federal
programs for libraries today.  The letter will not be taken seriously, and
it will appear as if Members of Congress do not care about libraries if we
don't have 60 signers on the letter. Programs that don't have a vocal
support network are in danger of being cut.

The letter is addressed to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and
Education Appropriation Subcommittees and requests that the Senate include
$300 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and $100
million for the Improving Literary Through School Libraries program for FY
2010. You can see the letter

*Please click the "Take Action" link at http://capwiz.com/ala/home/.  This
link will take you to sample language and direct it toward your specific
Senator.  When you contact your Senators you must ask him or her to call
Andrew Odgren with Senator Reed at  202-224-4642 or Mathew Hussey with
Senator Snowe at 202-224-5344.

Talking Points:

   - The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) was reauthorized as part
   of the Museum and Library Services Act of 2003 (H.R. 13) and signed by the
   President on September 25, 2003 (P.L. 108-81)

   - LSTA is the only federal funding program exclusively for libraries

   - The Grants to State Library Agencies program provides funds to State
   Library Administrative Agencies using a population-based formula. State
   libraries may use the appropriation to support statewide initiatives and
   services; they also may distribute the funds through subgrant competitions
   or cooperative agreements to public, academic, research, school, and special
   libraries in their state.

   - LSTA offers a variety of competitive grants available to librarians:
   The 21st Century Librarians Program; The National Leadership Grants; and
   the Native American Library Services: Enhancement Grants.

   - Around the country, knowledgeable librarians use the flexible LSTA
   funding to help patrons access essential information on a wide range of
   topics. They offer training on résumé development; help on web searches of
   job banks; workshops on career information; links to essential educational
   and community services; assistive devices for people with disabilities;
   family and youth literacy classes and services; homework help and mentoring
   programs; access to government information; a forum for enhanced civic
   engagement; summer reading programs and much more

   - LSTA provides funds to help libraries connect to each other
   electronically and provide users access to information through state,
   regional, national, and international networks

   - State libraries use LSTA funds to support statewide initiatives and
   also distribute the funds through subgrants or cooperative agreements to
   public, school, academic, research, and special libraries

   - LSTA funding enables libraries to pursue innovative opportunities,
   recruit and educate the next generation of librarians, and support research
   that is critical to libraries of all types

   - LSTA funds help libraries provide persons of limited financial
   resources or who live in remote areas, access to books and reference
   materials, computers and the internet, and community-based social services
   that are often available nowhere else

   - LSTA helps libraries serve as an important link to the business
   community, assisting with job creation and training programs, as well as
   assisting with business development initiatives
   - Across the United States, numerous studies have shown that students in
   schools with strong school libraries learn more, get better grades, and
   score higher on standardized test scores than their peers in schools without
   - Education is not exclusive to the classroom; it extends into school
   libraries. 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. School library media specialists collaborate with teachers and
   engage students meaningfully with information that matters to them both in
   the classroom and in the real world. *They are a critical part of the
   instructional staff.*
   - The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program is designed to
   improve student literacy skills and academic achievement by providing
   schools with up-to-date library materials, and to ensure that school library
   media centers are staffed by well-trained state-certified school library
   media specialists.  The program is administered by the U.S. Department of
   Education and is the first program specifically aimed at upgrading school
   libraries since the original school library resources program was
   established in 1965. The Department of Education's January 2009 evaluation
   of the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program found it has been
   successful in improving the quality of school libraries.
   - When the funding levels are less than $100 million in a fiscal year,
   the Secretary awards competitive grants to eligible school districts. When
   funds are equal to or more than $100 million, the program will be
   distributed as formula grants to state departments of education. In FY 2008,
   out 496 applications received by the US Department of Education, there was
   only enough funds to award 60 grants.

UPDATE - The following Senators have signed onto the Dear Colleague for

While it is critical that we thank these Senators, we need at least 60
signatures to make our needs heard.  The following Senators have signed on
in the past, but have not done so this year:
Bill Nelson

Diedre Conkling
diedre08 at gmail.com
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