Sign Here for School Libraries
The URL had barely expired November 27 on a bold online petition demanding the restoration of strong school libraries in every American school when another campaign got off the ground to gather 25,000 signatures within 30 days in favor of mandating quality education for America’s children through the provision of fully funded school libraries run by credentialed professionals.
Following in the footsteps of California school librarian Seanean Shanahan (whose petition on the White House “We the People” website drew more than 10,000 signatures), Noblesville, Indiana, school librarian Carl Harvey blogged November 28: “When I saw that the petition had not succeeded, the first thought that came to my mind was ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try again!’ I know it is possible to get those 25,000 signatures and I think it worth trying again.”
Harvey’s strategy is to write a new petition by year’s end and upload it to We the People in early January. But first, he is seeking advice from colleagues by encouraging them to comment on his blog on how best to craft this petition in light of the online debates triggered by Shanahan’s initiative. Foremost are the pros and cons of federal mandates about eligibility versus local control over funding priorities.
Although Harvey has taken up this advocacy mantle as an individual library practitioner, it probably doesn’t hurt in terms of piquing interest in the second iteration of a school-library petition that he happens to be 2011–2012 president of ALA’s American Association of School Librarians.
and a member of Harvey’s initiative also happens to dovetail with a top priority of the Presidential Task Force on School Libraries, which has set its sights on the restoration of school libraries to legislation reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Now there’s a New Year’s goal.
CORRECTION: Carl Harvey is not a member of ALA’s Presidential Task Force on School Libraries.