Senator Fighting for school libraries

US Senator Jack Reed has introduced a bill to provide $275
million in funding to school libraries to purchase new
reference materials. S.1262, the Elementary and Secondary
School Library Media Resources, Training and Advanced
Technology Assistance Act, would provide critical funding
for school libraries and increase student access to the most
up-to-date library materials. You can even submit
examples of out-of-date reference books in your school
library Here.
The School Library Bill Page is at reed.senate.gov

At a time when access to information is
growing, librarians
throughout the country are struggling to provide
students with up-to-date
reference materials.
Over the past 35 years, funding for school libraries has
plummeted. While
the average price of a new library book is $16, the
average amount spent by
school district per student for books is $6.73 in
elementary school, $7.30
in middle school and $6.27 in high school. As a result,
many outdated books
which were acquired in the mid and late 1960s as a
result of the original
Elementary and Secondary Education Act are still on the
shelf. While many of
these books should be removed from library shelves they
cannot be, since
there is no money to replace them.

That is why I have introduced a bill to
provide $275 million
in funding to school libraries to purchase new reference
materials. S.1262,
the Elementary and Secondary School Library Media
Resources, Training and
Advanced Technology Assistance Act, would provide
critical funding for
school libraries and increase student access to the most
up-to-date library
materials.

I sponsored the legislation after
learning that many books
in school libraries nationwide predated the landing of a
manned spacecraft
on the moon, the end of the Vietnam War and the breakup
of the Soviet Union.

My legislation would be directed to
schools with the
greatest need and could be used to:

  • acquire up-to-date school library
    media resources,
    including books, for the use of students, school
    library media
    specialists and teachers;

  • acquire and utilize advanced
    technology, incorporated
    into the curriculum, to develop and enhance the
    information literacy,
    information retrieval and critical thinking skills
    of students;

  • acquire and utilize advanced
    technology, including
    Internet links, to facilitate resource-sharing
    among schools and
    school library media centers, public and academic
    libraries, where
    possible;

  • provide professional development
    opportunities for
    school library media specialists; and

  • foster increased collaboration
    between school library
    media specialists, elementary and secondary
    teachers and school
    administrators.

An additional provision would establish
the School Library
Access program which would provide students with access
to school libraries
during non-school hours, including before and after
school, weekends and
summers.

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