This message comes from Beth Yoke, the executive director of Young Adult Library Services Association:
We need your help! Carl Harvey, President of the American Association of School Librarians, has initiated a White House petition on school libraries, which specifically petitions the Obama administration to “ensure that every child in America has access to an effective school library program.” About 17,000 signatures are still needed in order for this petition at http://wh.gov/Wgd to be reviewed by White House staff. Please sign the petition and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to sign it by Feb. 4, 2012, and help us spread the word about it (if you send a Tweet, please use #saveschoollibraries). We really appreciate your support! To learn more about how you can support school libraries, visit http://www.ala.org/aasl/aaslissues/toolkits/parentoutreach. Thanks for all that you do to open up the world of reading to young people.
I've signed the petition. The library was my favorite place in elementary school (the poor cafeteria--it never stood a chance). It was filled with what seemed like unlimited books for the borrowing, and I read stories that have stayed with me ever since. There's not a doubt in my mind that I'm a writer today because of the teachers and librarians who helped feed my mind.
There's a misguided notion out there that school libraries are non-essential in the age of the Internet. You might as well say schools are inessential for the very same reason. (But please don't--it's an equally silly notion).
Good librarians, at schools and elsewhere, help put the right books in the right hands at the right time. The act of reading helps students succeed in the classroom. Reading also helps kids see the world through the eyes of others, a fundamental step in developing empathy.
Beyond this, librarians also teach kids how to find the information they need, how to make sure it's trustworthy, and how to cite the sources so it can be shared responsibly. This is a cornerstone of democracy. You can't understate its importance.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Please sign the petition. If you'd like, write a blog post (and let me know so I can share it with others). And please use Twitter and Facebook to spread the word, using the hashtag #saveschoollibraries.