Dear Mr. President...

It is vital that we ALL start writing to our administration in Washington. It will be a huge tragedy to see that funding which we count on will no linger exist. Please make your voice heard.
Please voice your concern to President Obama.

President’s FY2011 budget proposals calls for cuts to school library funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama’s FY2011 Budget Proposal to Congress released today included a $400 billion investment into education but did not include specific funds for school libraries. Additionally, the budget called for a consolidation of the funds for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program, which takes the funds out of reach for most school libraries.

“This Administration says it wants to focus on programs that are effective, but it has not only recommended policy that will keep school libraries underfunded, but it will also eliminate funds for a program that the Department of Education has evaluated twice and found to be effective both times,” American Association of School Libraries (AASL) President Cassandra Barnett said. AASL is a division of the American Library Association (ALA).
In January 2009, the Department of Education released the Second Evaluation of the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program, which indicated that students attending schools participating in this program are performing higher on state reading tests than students in schools that do not take part in the program. Additionally, the study stated that in schools that participated in the program in 2003-04, the percentage of students who met or exceeded the proficiency requirements on state reading assessments increased by an extra 2.7 percentage points over the increase observed among nonparticipating schools during the same time period.
“In his State of the Union Address, President Obama stated that ‘In the 21st century, one of the best anti-poverty programs is a world-class education.’ Yet, the President’s budget neglects funding for a program that provides the type of learning experiences that develop the critical thinking and collaborative skills that are key to global competiveness,” Barnett said.

School library programs focus on the skills that prepare students to be independent learners capable of assessing and recognizing their personal strengths and weaknesses thus graduating college or career ready. A world-class, 21st century education includes instruction from a school librarian – a teacher who knows the school’s curriculum and effective techniques necessary to cross disciplines and integrate information and technology literacy. Yet, Obama’s budget and policy proposals neglect to support the role of school librarians and, as a result, too many of our nation’s schools will not have school librarians or essential school library programs.”

Winter General Membership Meeting
Wednesday January 13, 2010
Carver High School
1600 W. NORRIS ST.
4 o’clock p.m.
Refreshments and parking available

Picturing America©
An appreciation of our country’s history and character through
the study and understanding of its art.

Using the technology in our libraries
to actively engage students in their learning



Nominations for APSL’s Librarian of the Year

Please plan to attend.

Please reply to Brenda Maiden at Carver High School Library
no later than Friday, January 8, 2010 if you plan to attend.
Phone: 215 - 684 - 5079

Hi all!

Many of you may have already received this information from Deb Kachel, a great advocate for school libraries in Philadelphia as well as throughout the state. Please click on the various links below and consider joining.

Ron Cowell, President of the of The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC - ), is organizing a grassroots education advocacy network. He heads the Pa School Funding Campaign that PSLA was a part of this past budget cycle. He is building education advocacy teams regionally in each legislative district in PA and is seeking volunteers to be on teams. If you go to this site for info, you will see that libraries plays prominently in this effort and I think that is a result of PSLA’s work on the Pa School Funding Campaign. They know that many of our members contacted legislators and it is appreciated.
As Deb states, "I think this is a effort that we should participate in to continue to get the message out about funding for school libraries. I hope you can sign up."

APSL members,
Please read the information below that Helen Gym has sent to the APSL membership via Janet Malloy. Helen is asking for our endorsement around budget issues. Consider if you are ready to make APSL an organization that will endorse this Parents United petition.

Subject: Parents United budget action thoughts

Dear Friends: For the past month, we've chosen to hold off on action on the school district budget crisis until we could get clarity on what's happening. With a tentative agreement being hammered out, it appears the District is in serious crisis - to the tune of $160 million short. Perhaps of greater concern is that the District doesn't feel it has to consult with the public before making their cuts. As we move forward, I'm interested in your thoughts on how to make sure this budget situation doesn't do serious damage to our schools. A couple of thoughts:
  1. Parents United is circulating a petition below and asking for organizational and individual signatures to send to the SRC and Mayor focusing on protecting essential school services and demanding a public process around budget cuts.
  2. We're holding an information session for parents tomorrow in Germantown and we'll be headed to the SRC to possibly testify. We're hoping we won't be alone in our testimony and are looking for support on how to guide the budget discussion.
Below is the petition. Please let us know what you think and if you are willing to share it with your members to seek sign on. We're willing to work on the details of it as well. Look forward to hearing your thoughts. Sincerely, Helen

We, the undersigned, request that school, city and state leaders place the needs of children, classrooms, and schools FIRST as we face a serious budget situation left by the state. We ask that public hearings be held on any budget cuts. And we demand that all contracts are publicly reviewed to determine their priority in relation to essential school needs.

Specifically, we ask the following:

  1. Take the District “doomsday budget” off the table. That document targets essential services for students – like teachers, counselors, nurses and school police – and would undermine both the quality and safety of our schools;
  2. Define “essential school services” and commit to ensuring that these will be a top priority for protection under budget cuts;
  3. Freeze all contracting activity and account fully for current contracts, no matter how small. The District did this in 2006, and we should use that practice again.
  4. Eliminate the 75-80 patronage employees from the Bureau of Revision of Taxes who cost the District almost $5 million a year. With essential school services on the line, now is not the time to play politics with our children’s money.
  5. Hold at least three public budget meetings – including one evening meeting – before approving a revised budget; and
  6. Commit to holding community budget forums in early 2010 so that the District can hear financing priorities from schools before budgets are created, not afterward.

Helen Gym
Parents United for Public Education

I received the following message from Deb Kachel, the PSLA Legislative Chair and Glenn Miller, Exec Dir of PaLA.
Please keep up the pressure by contacting your state representatives and urge them NOT to cut Library Funding from the budget. Time is running out!! ALL of our voices need to be heard.

Three-Caucus Budget Deal Chops Library Funding; Voice Opposition NOW

More details have trickled out about the proposed Three-Caucus-Deal calls for a new state budget of $27.9 billion. Sad to say, steep library cuts remain in this proposal. Two key library numbers stand out under this proposal:
The Public Library Subsidy would be funded at $50 million, a 34% cut from the 2008-09 budget level of $75.7 million.
2. The now-combined Library Access funding (which includes POWER Library, Ask Here PA, the statewide library card, interlibrary delivery, and the Access Pennsylvania database) would total only $3 million, a cut of 73% from 2008-09’s combined total of $11.1 million.

Under this proposed deal, two other library line items remain unchanged from earlier proposals: The State Library’s cut of 50% remains, and Library Services for the Visually Impaired and Disabled will face a 1.7% cut.

When you add it all together, here are the two key facts:
1. Direct funding for local libraries gets cut by one-third; and,
2. Overall library funding—all programs—will be cut by 38% under this deal.

This situation remains fluid—very fluid. If can marshal up the energy and the firepower, we can still make a difference:
Action Needed
Keep up the pressure today with phone calls and emails. Your advocacy today and for the balance of the week can be crucial:
Email your state senator, state representative, and Governor Rendell, and find three others to do the same. Go to and click on “State Budget Update, September 14, 2009” for easy links to send emails.
2. Call your State Senator, your State Representative, and Governor Rendell (717-787-2500) and voice your opposition to the Three-Caucus Deal. If you need a phone number, go to PaLA’s online legislative directory:


Libraries are busier than ever serving their constituents—More than 45 million library visits last year.
2. Libraries are a lifeline for the unemployed—the only place they can go to search and apply for jobs online.
3. Libraries serve families providing them with pre-K programs, K-12 homework support, and resources for home schooling.
4. Cutting local libraries by 34% and Library Access by 73% is not sharing the pain but shouldering the burden.
5. Be sure to spell out exactly what local library services will be ended in their districts if this deal becomes law.
6. This Three-Caucus Deal will eliminate POWER Library online databases offered statewide in public libraries.
7. POWER Library is the ONLY online databases offered in 412 of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts.
8. If this deal passes, Pennsylvania will throw away more than $3 million in matching federal funds.
9. No public service reaches more Pennsylvanians with positive results and no one stretches the taxpayers’ dollar further than the public librarian.

Governor Rendell has already pledged to veto this bill if it arrives on his desk in its current form. Whether or not the legislature could or would override his veto is an open question.

The bottom line is that this situation is fluid with changes and deal-making likely to occur. Library voices need to be heard again. And again.

And finally, here are the Top 10 State Budget Deal Makers:
Representative Dwight Evans (D) Philadelphia-Budget Conference Committee member
Representative Todd Eachus (D) Luzerne Co. -Budget Conference Committee member
Representative Sam Smith (R) Jefferson Co. -Budget Conference Committee member
Senator Dominic Pileggi (R) Delaware Co. -Budget Conference Committee member
Senator Jake Corman (R) Centre Co. -Budget Conference Committee member
Senator Jay Costa (D) Allegheny Co.-Budget Conference Committee member
Senator Joseph Scarnati (R) Jefferson Co-President of the Senate
Representative Keith McCall, (D) Carbon-Speaker of the House of Representatives
Senator Robert Mellow (D) Lackawanna-Senate Minority (D) Floor Leader
Representative Mario Civera (R) Delaware-House Minority (R) Appropriations chair

If your legislator is on this list, please call or email them, ASAP. If you legislator is not on this list, urge YOUR legislator to speak up for library funding with the leaders of their own caucus.

Check out this video clip from ProQuest..
Why libraries?


Janet recommends that you listen to this one-minute radio spot funded by the PFT. pgid=51&article=171

Food for Thought...

“Make yourself indispensable!!” It was Crystal Patterson’s mother, Dorothy Williams who long ago made the statement to the librarians in the district. This phrase has stuck with me throughout my career as a librarian in the school system. We must make this our motto as we face the years ahead. By playing an active role in your building, you play a key role in your school.

A librarian needs to be leader in their building and school community. Remember, there is only one of us. We need to make sure that we are included; to be a member of the team. Sometimes, we get overlooked or forgotten when plans and agendas are being made. Make sure that libraries are included in your School Improvement Plan. Offer your services. Make sure that you are included.

Many of us often find ourselves in buildings with newer staff and sometimes even newer administration. This often makes us the more experienced educators in our schools. Put that expertise to good use! Spend time coaching and encouraging new teachers. TEACH your principal that librarians and libraries play a very important role in the success of their students and their school. Be the one that everyone turns to for help, encouragement and validation. Be recognized as the superstar performer that librarians can be!

In other words, get involved and stay involved! Join the Home and School and attend their meetings. Offer to make a presentation about the library at one of the Home and School meetings. Join your school council. Your voice needs to be heard too. Make your school community believe (as we do) that the library truly is the heart of the school. In doing so, it will create a culture that knows and values the purpose of a library in the lives of our students and their success in the future.

As the new school year gets underway, we are all faced with challenges unique to our individual schools and the children that we serve in the district. I urge all to get involved in your schools and with the various organizations that support library programs and services. We need to support one another and we need to support the schools where we work and the children that we serve.

September, 2009.