Continuing the Advocacy for School Libraries in Louisiana

Today I got an email from the president of the Louisiana Library Association (LLA). Of course, I wasn't the only one to receive it. She sent it out to all members of LLA who are subscribed to the listserv. During our fight in December and early January to ask BESE not to change the language about libraries in the Louisiana handbook for school administrators, Bulletin 741, I was working with the Louisiana Association of School Librarians (LASL). I am glad to see LLA on board with the movement to keep librarians in all schools. The president of LLA wrote a great letter imploring all librarians to begin a grass roots effort to write to local newspapers and state legislators about the importance of librarians in schools. 

I am posting it in its entirely here. If you live in Louisiana, we need your help to spread the good word about school librarians. 

February 4, 2013
My dear colleagues,
In lieu of LDOE and BESE recent actions, we have much work to do to get Louisiana's school librarians' positions secured.  These positions are in danger of being cut and reverting our schools to the dark ages.
We are launching a collaborative writing project between the school librarian and several teachers at each school.  Letters should be written to the editors of a major newspapers in the area or in our state expresssing why school librarians are important.  It is meant to persuade the editors and our state senators and representatives to make it mandatory to have a school librarian at every school.   Every child should write a letter.  This will also help the students prepare for the writing portion of LEAP.  We hope to provide a steady stream of letters to the editors.  These should also find a way into the email and snail mail of our Louisiana legislators.
Some suggested reasons for incorporating into the body of the letters are given below.  You may wish to "google" for more reasons or create your own.  This is an inexpensive, effective and constructive way to get the "grassroots" message out to our public.  School librarians are essential at every school.
School librarians--
-are knowledgeable, interested adults with whom to discuss books.
-are instructors who have expertise on researching, writing and presenting projects.
-provide a connection between the outside world and the classroom.
-offer assistance and guidance in completing homework assignments.
-offer a safe haven to visit an open, friendly and attractive place.
-offer a place where all are given equal opportunity to use the resources.
-share a smile of genuine pleasure for coming through the door.
-teach students to use social media websites and tool such as blogs, wikis, Facebook and  
   Twitter safely and responsibly.
-show resources that will broaden students knowledge.
-encourage and develop decision making skills.
-develop students' self esteem.
-develop students' personal productivity.
-help with science and social studies fair projects and papers.
-teach respect for copyright and intellectual property.
-provide access 24-7 to an online catalog, selected electronic resources, databases and curriculum- related websites through a school library website.
-can help students to write a good thesis statement.
-teach students to become effective and efficient users of information.
-help students ride the wave of the information highway.
-help students recommend books to their friends.
-escape from the world and explore other dimensions.
-help students go beyond academic requirements.
-encourage students to synthesize information from diverse perspectives.
-offer multicultural literature.
-share indepth exploration of a topic.
-allow students to use E-READERS.
-help students respond to literature.
-offer a program for students who are working on various levels to feel successful! 
-offer books to students reading on various levels to improve their abilities and experiences.
-introduce students to new people and places through reading and books.
-help students to become lifelong readers and learners.
Even parents can feel free to express their opinions and write letters, too.  Success stories relating to school libraries are welcome from anyone.  Our public must help us with this endeavor.  They need to be a voice in this appeal.
Charlene Picheloup
Louisiana Library Association


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