American Library Association (ALA) President Jim Neal and American Association of School Librarians (AASL) President Steven Yates released a joint statement on March 8 in response to Florida Senate Bill 7026, which would permit librarians, counselors, and coaches to carry firearms in Florida Public Schools.
“ALA and AASL support the efforts of Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) and Florida Library Association to provide safe and accessible learning spaces for students and learners of all ages,” stated Neal and Yates.
“School librarians work with classroom teachers to provide instruction integral to the curriculum and offer additional informal learning opportunities for students. School librarians are invaluable teachers who offer an enriching learning environment for students and colleagues throughout the school. Firearms in our school libraries, as in any other classroom, will undermine the sense of security that is critical to students and divert school librarian attention away from the core focus of student learning.
“While we are all too aware of the gun violence that affects the communities that we serve, including our schools, we do not believe that allowing the arming of school librarians with guns is the answer to preventing violence and mass shootings. Schools need more resources, including the expertise of a certified school librarian for teaching and learning.
“We strongly encourage Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida state legislature to honor the recommendations of FAME and other statewide teaching organizations regarding SB 7026.”
For information regarding how to support Florida library media specialists’ advocacy efforts, please visit floridamediaed.org.