APSL Meeting at Educational Law Center
Wednesday August 18, 2010

In attendance:
Carol Heinsdorf, Janet Malloy, Margaret Plotkin, Martha Kroch, Jayne Downing, APSL
Baruch Kintisch, David Lapp, Sarah Bell, Brett Schaeffer, Connie Sung, Education Law Center
Brian Armstead, Philadelphia Education Fund
Lauren Jacobs, Philadelphia chapter of the Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform

Carol briefly explained background on the history of Philadelphia School librarians and their decline within the district, noting that it is a threat to democracy. Much of this decline has to do with current economics, site based decisions by school administration and the small school model. (According to contract language, only schools with more than 1,000 students are suggested to have librarians.)

APSL has been advocating and educating for the importance of libraries and librarians in our schools. It is our hope that this new collaboration will help us.

How do we start moving forward from this decline and where do we go from here?

- If we don’t have the whole picture, we are wasting our time.
- Small victories are needed.

What actions can be taken (by whom…etc.?)

- We need to stop fighting over the scraps and not put one against another (ex. art/music/libraries).
- It all comes down to power – we need to move to get the support for that power.
- Need to look at Mayor’s educational goals and where we might be able to support these goals.

What have we done so far?

- Briefly explained our various attempts and visits to mayor’s office, PFT, SRC, etc.

What and/or why is it not working?

- Too much info. Need to limit the amount of data.
- Create more targeted one-page statement. [See suggestions from B. Kintisch "Evidence that librarians increase academic achievement." CWH]

What do we need to be doing?

- We need allies/organizers. Invite people to school or action(?)
- Connect with universities (PEF could offer this opportunity) Drexel was mentioned.
- Work with 2 or 3 places with strong community organizations.
- Student and parent groups joining in on this effort
- Make connection with Public School Notebook. (Topic – School Libraries; schools and where they are spending their money.
- Create visuals.
- Ask Research for Action to help
- Find two schools….” What would happen if…
- Video of students who didn’t have access to libraries.
- Testimony of SDP graduates who benefited from school library. Ex. Jill Scott, Jerry Jordan, others on SDP poster
- Clearly state role of the librarian in the school
- Should be part of the larger picture (the State)
- Build allies with wealthy individuals (celebrities). Get people to spend and give $.
- Reach out to friends.
- Build a campaign.
- Build the power first.
- Ride on back of community organizations. Work with them.
- Press release: use Cross City
- APSL needs to offer support for Cross City groups.
- Use examples of 2-3 schools with City Council--all Council persons should want best for children in their districts
- Empowerment schools more stable than Promise Academies, which were speculated to disappear when Dr. Ackerman goes

To build outreach
Attend The Compact 9/2/10 at CCP
- a forum for various community organizations
- monthly meeting held first Thursday of every month
- make connections there

Go to other key organizations.
- Teacher Action Group.

25 – 45 teachers
more progressive group of teachers looking for real reform
- Teach For America

- Philadelphia Youth Network--anti-drop out--Project U-Turn
Meet one-on-one as suggested by L. Jacobs with
- Youth United for Change (North Phila.), inc. Edison, Kensington, Mastbaum, Olney
- Philadelphia Student Union (West and elsewhere), inc. West Phila. High, Furness, Bodine, Central, + others
- Action United (area TBD--starting out, so now is a good time to make connection) names and telephone numbers on request
- Juntos + SEAMAAC (South), inc. Southern and Southwark area
- Also, PCCY, S. Simmons, ex. 12

Suggestion: Before meeting with these organizations – what would resonate? Adjust our message to the organization's goals.

Answer these questions:
What does a fully functioning library look like?
What does the librarian bring to the success of a school?
Why a librarian as a prep teacher is not a solution.
This will drive AYP
This will drive dropout prevention.
How is a librarian good for a student?
How does a librarian help prepare a student?

Address some of the negative problems that we are going to encounter
No funding…we are broke.
The preconceived notion of what people think of librarians and the work we do.
Why shouldn't hiring a librarian be a principal's decision?
Why choose to hire a librarian before an additional classroom teacher?


- Think more about our goal (next 2 years).
- Focus at district level
- Start meeting with other organizations (face-to-face) and building alliances.
- Schools that don’t have libraries/librarians – how can we build this support?

Armstead (PEF) suggested that we gather data on our successes with ESL, students with disabilities, our role with grades 1 – 3, grades 6 and 8, grade 11
Make case(s) for relationships with:

Next steps:
1. Research data, create one-pager
2. Research what librarians provide

Break actions into steps.
Meet face-to-face; gain feedback.
Build coalitions.
Select a few schools as examples.
Show how librarians important to high school graduation.

Baruch stated that it is going to take at least 3 years of solid work for this to make any progress.

Meeting was adjourned at 11:35
Notes submitted by JSMalloy
August 19, 2010

Meeting with Jerry Jordan, President, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) at 1816 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19103
Wednesday August 18, 2010

In attendance:
Baruch Kintisch, David Lapp, ELC
Carol Heinsdorf, APSL

Intro: APSL conferring with Jerry this time not to tell him what is needed for school library programming to contribute to students' academic success, but to ask for his advice about what can be most successfully accomplished to improve SDP school library programming.

APSL needs to make a statement--to press, to elected officials, to educate teacher colleagues to importance of school librarians to students' academic success

Ally with Mayor's commitment to increase graduation rate. Mayor trying to find scholarships for Philadelphia's students in local colleges--link to that.
Money gap--How is the SDP spending its resources? Have principals make request for funding for library programming.

Join with advocates at the state level--James Roebuck, Chair, PA House Education Committee <http://www.pahouse.com/contact/vialdpc.asp?district=188>
Sen. Jeff Piccola, PA Senate Education Committee < http://www.piccola.org/>

Where do APSL members live? City Council reps are elected.
Ask Council reps about school libraries before vote on SDP funding--City provides 40% of the SDP funding. APSL members vote.
Contact state reps and senators with message.

Discussion of visual impact of map with dots defining schools with librarians and without. How use this map in other venues?
Use map when speaking with Editorial Board of the Inquirer.

Create "must have" to be academically successful--Jerry gave example of how West Philadelphia H.S. library prepared him for correctly creating citations in college, while students without school library experience floundered and failed.
Help new teachers
Collaborate with colleagues
Educate parents through Home and School--educate them to library resources in the schools their children attend--parents then have say.

Kintisch--"What can be an item to win by May 2011?"
Jerry--"Timing is everything!"
112 Empowerment schools--librarians help to increase literacy
How can librarians help black males?
Promise Academies--
School library a resource that they should have
Library available to be used on weekends when Promise Academies are open, and during the extra hours.
Find out what is happening in Promise Academy libraries now.
Present to Dr. Ackerman and Francisco Duran, assistant superintendent for Promise Academies.

Thanks to Jerry Jordan, Baruch Kintisch, and David Lapp.

Respectfully submitted: Carol Heinsdorf, 8/23/2010