Support Library Funding

Two more reasons to contact your US Representative. From the National Children’s Book and Literary Alliance:

“Appropriations season is now underway in Washington, D. C. It’s crucial that you call your U.S. Representative today and ask him or her to sign two separate “Dear Colleague” letters that support funding for libraries.

One letter, found here, supports funding for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Grant in FY13. This grant is crucial because at least half of it would go to low-income school libraries to help update their books and materials.

The other letter, found here, supports funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) in FY13. LSTA is the primary source of funding for libraries in the federal budget.”

Click through for more info from the NCBLA.

Dark Sites Are Rising

If you’re online at all today, you’ve probably noticed that some major sites, like Wikipedia, have gone dark to protest SOPA and PIPA. I stopped by Wikipedia this morning to look up some random bit of information and got their dark page instead. It was a good reminder that we rely on these tools to enhance our lives and our knowledge. In very short, legislation like SOPA and PIPA is harmful to most internet users while not efficiently stopping online piracy.

For more info on the protest, check out these articles and posts.

Petition to Support School Libraries

From the The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance:

“We ask that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provide dedicated funding to help support effective school library programs. Such action will ensure more students have access to the resources and tools that constitute a 21st century learning environment. Reductions in school library programs are creating an ‘access gap’ between schools in wealthier communities versus those where there are high levels of poverty. All students should have an equal opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to learn, to participate, and to compete in today’s world.”

Sign the petition here. Right now there are only about 5,000 signatures and the petition needs about 15,000 more. So spread the word! School libraries are an essential part of literacy development and deserve our support.

A New Ambassador

Congratulations to author Walter Dean Myers, who has recently been named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature! Myers is probably best known for his novel Monster, which won the Printz and was a finalist for the National Book Award, among others. But his bibliography is very extensive; check out his website for the full list.

From a recent New York Times article about Myers:

He will receive a medal at the Library of Congress next Tuesday. One of the first things he expects to say is that reading is not a Victorian pastime.

“People still try to sell books that way — as ‘books can take you to foreign lands,’ ” he said. “We’ve given children this idea that reading and books are a nice option, if you want that kind of thing. I hope we can get over that idea.”

I love Myers’s assertion that reading isn’t optional. Reading is a necessary part of life and can deeply affect the everyday experience. I’m excited to see what Myers has in store as the National Ambassador.

(via The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance)