Ask Your Senator to Support the SKILLS Act

The Time to Support the SKILLS Act is Now

I received the following letter today from American Library Association president Molly Raphael. The SKILLS Act is the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries Act which is part of the upcoming Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization. I urge you to show your support for school libraries, school librarians, and ultimately, our future–the students who learn information literacy and love of learning in school libraries, by contacting your senators and representatives.

Letter From Molly Raphael, ALA President

Dear Colleague,

As you may know, I recently formed a special task force to combat the threat to school library programs. More on information on it can be found here: Across the country, students are attending schools without effective school library programs. Without access to school libraries, students are missing out on college and career readiness programs, digital literacy instruction, and personalized support from state certified school librarians. It is impossible to disregard the impact that cuts to school library instruction programs will have on future generations.

The fact is that what happens to school library programs affects libraries of all types. As such, I’ve called on librarians of all types to participate in this task force. And now, I’m calling on you to get involved. The time has come for an “all hands on deck” approach to this crisis in the making.

In the coming weeks and months, you’ll be hearing more about ways you can get involved to help school library programs. In the meantime, I urge you to contact your Congressional representatives for two very important reasons:

First, urge both your senators and representatives to send their education staff to the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Congressional Briefing, “Education Reform and the SKILLs Act: An Analysis of Twenty-First Century School Libraries and Their Impact on Career and College Preparedness” on Monday, October 17th, from 10am-11am ET in Room 121 of the Cannon House Office Building Washington D.C.

The briefing will cover how the SKILLs Act supports and sustains 21st century school libraries. For more about the AASL Briefing:

Secondly, while you’re contacting your senator, ask him or her to co-sponsor S.1328, the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLS) Act that ensures that every school is served by a state-certified school librarian and the school library program has access to the resources students need to become lifelong learners. The SKILLS ACT bill will amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 regarding school libraries, and for other purposes.

Currently, there are only five co-sponsors of the SKILLS Act in the Senate. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee will be writing federal education legislation on October 18, so the time to act is now.

If you do not know how to contact your legislator, you can visit ALA resources to get involved:

1. Go the ALA Legislative Action Center by clicking here:

2. Read over the talking points and type in your zip code to find the phone number for your senator’s office (you will see additional talking points). You can also be connected to your senator’s office by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121

3. Call both senators and ask them to co-sponsor the SKILLS Act using the provided talking points and your own stories about why school libraries are so important.

4. Fill out the feedback card or email to describe what you heard.

These small steps you take right now are crucial to maintaining a voice for school library programs. But this is only the beginning. In the months to come, we will have important work to do: working together, I hope that we can avert this potential crisis, and in turn, raise the visibility of libraries of all types to even greater heights. I look forward to working with you.


Molly Raphael
2011-2012 ALA President

Updates as of 10/29/2011 – Videos & Briefing Summary; ESEA Reauthorization

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Banned Books Week 2010: Banned Classics

Banned Books Week is September 25 – October 2 2010.

Did you know that 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts?

The books in bold are known to have been banned or challenged. For information on why these books were banned, visit the ALA website, where this list appears.

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
10. The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

13. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
22. Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
31. On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
32. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
34. To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf
35. Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
37. The World According to Garp, by John Irving
38. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
39. A Room with a View, by E.M. Forster
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
41. Schindler’s List, by Thomas Keneally
42. The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton
43. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
44. Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
46. Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf
47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
51. My Antonia, by Willa Cather
52. Howards End, by E.M. Forster
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
54. Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
56. Jazz, by Toni Morrison
57. Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
58. Absalom, Absalom!, by William Faulkner
59. A Passage to India, by E.M. Forster
60. Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton
61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor
62. Tender Is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
63. Orlando, by Virginia Woolf
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
65. Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe
66. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
68. Light in August, by William Faulkner
69. The Wings of the Dove, by Henry James
70. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
71. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
72. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence

76. Look Homeward, Angel, by Thomas Wolfe
77. In Our Time, by Ernest Hemingway
78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, by Gertrude Stein
79. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
81. Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys
82. White Noise, by Don DeLillo
83. O Pioneers!, by Willa Cather
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
85. The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells
86. Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad
87. The Bostonians, by Henry James
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
89. Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather
90. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
91. This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
92. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
93. The French Lieutenant’s Woman, by John Fowles
94. Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis
95. Kim, by Rudyard Kipling
96. The Beautiful and the Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
98. Where Angels Fear to Tread, by E.M. Forster
99. Main Street, by Sinclair Lewis
100. Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie

How are you celebrating Banned Books Week 2010?