On July 30, ALA President Barbara Stripling unveiled the “Declaration for the Right to Libraries” during a signing ceremony at Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library. The Declaration is the cornerstone document of Stripling’s presidential initiative, “Libraries Change Lives,” which is designed to build the public will and sustain support for America’s right to libraries of all types—academic, special, school, and public. Stripling’s initiative will focus on transformative library practices in literacy, innovation, and community engagement.
Stripling was joined by Nashville Public Library Director Kent Oliver, Nashville library leaders, and community members. All were among the first to sign the Declaration, which will serve as a strong public statement about the value of libraries as institutions that empower individuals, strengthen families, build communities, and protect our right to know. Signings are being organized at libraries and other locations throughout the nation. The petitions will be presented to Congress by library supporters during National Library Legislative Day activities, May 5–6, 2014. Online signing of the Declaration will be enabled later this summer.
“Libraries provide services that inspire and empower their users to change their lives through education,” said Stripling. “The Declaration will serve as an advocacy tool to help communities take action and illustrate the value of their libraries and library staff. Our hope is that library supporters will take advantage of this tool and present collected signatures to local leaders and legislators throughout the year.”