[library-media] Forward: [al_news] Breaking News, February 8, 2008, American Libraries Online

Donna Morris dmorris at utah.gov
Sun Feb 10 16:18:13 MST 2008

I am forwarding this to Utah school media staff so you will know what is going on in neighboring Washington.
Grassroots Group Grows School Library Support
More than 100 people gathered in the rain at the state capitol steps in
Olympia, Washington, February 1 to rally for school libraries, despite
cold winds and a storm in the eastern half of the state that prevented
many from attending, and which later caused Governor Christine Gregoire
to declare a state of emergency for 15 counties. The rally and an
all-day summit were the culmination of the work of a group of concerned
Spokane mothers.
The effort began last spring when Lisa Layera Brunkan, Denette Hill, and
Susan McBurney, enraged at the cuts to school library media programs in
Washington and determined to strengthen them statewide, began a
grassroots movement to combat their school board's decision to close
part of a $10.8-million deficit by halving the hours of the 10
full-time, K-8 teacher librarians still employed by Washington's
second-largest district.
Naming themselves the Washington Coalition for School Libraries and
Information Technology, the moms partnered with the Washington Library
Media Association, Washington Library Association, and other key groups.
Their first victory came with the introduction of Senate Bill 6380 on
January 22 by State Sen. Tracey J. Eide (D-Federal Way); the bill
codifies through a per-pupil formula how many credentialed school
library media specialists should be employed by each district and offers
some $55 million to fund the initiative. Its aim of guaranteeing the
presence in school libraries of certificated staff echoes the language
of the federal SKILLs (Strengthening Kids' Interest in Learning and
Libraries) Act, introduced in June 2007 as an unfunded amendment to the
No Child Left Behind Act and scheduled for Senate committee review in
The inclement weather at the rally may have ultimately resulted in the
"Perfect Storm" of events, forcing the cancellation of many committee
meetings. SB 6380 then took a backseat as House Bill 2773 was called to
the floor. A companion bill to SB 6380, HB 2773 was introduced by state
Rep. Don Barlow (D-6th Dist.), seconded by Rep. Kathy Haigh (D-35th
Dist.), and sent to the Appropriations Committee February 5. It would
give districts extra funds that can be spent on hiring more school
library media specialists.
An all-day summit comprised approximately 60 members of the Washington
school library media community, and featured speakers such as educator
Jamie McKenzie; researcher Gary Hartzell; Michael Eisenberg, founding
dean of the University of Washington School of Information; Washington
State Librarian Jan Walsh; American Library Association President
Loriene Roy; and Sara Kelly Johns, president of ALA's American
Association of School Librarians.
Donna Jones Morris, State Librarian
Director, Utah State Library Division
250 N 1950 W, Suite A
Salt Lake City Ut  84116-7901
801-715-6770 (phone) 801-715-6767 (fax)
1-800-662-9150 (in-Utah-WATS)
dmorris at utah.gov
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