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Fund our Future Washington rally and summit, 2.1.08


It was absolutely inspiring to represent AASL at the Fund our Future rally and summit in Olympia Washington. The three Spokane Moms--Lisa, Susan and Denette--are patient, persistent, polite and passionate about the crucial role school libraries and school librarians  have in the future of the students in Washington State. When Spokane schools did not agree to restore cuts to positions, someone suggested that they take their cause to the capital in Olympia, so they did! They took the advice of the staffers of important legislators about how to get support and a bill introduced that will put a school librarian in every school and provide funding for resources.

The rally was wet, windy, cold and uplifting as speaker after speaker spoke about the importance of school libraries and support for the proposed bills...and people dressed in black and white (it's a black and white issue, after all) yelled their approval. Many more people would have arrived from the western part of the state but a huge snow fall closed the pass through the mountains. But there were kids, librarians, teachers, parents...including a mother named Susie (I think) from Oregon who drove up from Portland to announce that there was now going to be a Fund our Future Oregon....will Arizona be next?  Hope so! And it was so exciting when it was reported that House Bill 2773 moved out of committee while we were there!

Mike Eisenberg and WLMA (Washington Library Media Association) leaders worked very hard to put together a meaningful and thought-provoking summit...Mike produced agenda after agenda right up until the day before; it included Jamie McKenzie, Gary Hartzell,  ALA President Loriene Roy,  AASL Executive Director Julie Walker, me, President of Antioch University Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet, Washington State Librarian Jan Walsh,Director of the Seattle Public Library Deborah L. Jacobs and four administrators, all concentrating on what it is that school librarians and school library programs do in their schools which leads to excellence. Past AASL President and NCLB Task Force Chair Linda Williams came to show her support. The Spokane Moms are fun, smart and savvy. They presented very special, personalized READ posters to several key legislators among other recognitions.


It's grassroots advocacy at its best...librarians were there--as they need to be--but the power of passionate parents is a HUGE piece of the advocacy puzzle.  AASL and ALA will be following the progress of the Spokane Moms and Fund our Future Washington <> and will be supporting them and others as they work for students' educational experiences.

(With Denette, State Librarian Jan Walsh, Susan, Lisa, Loriene Roy, Julie Walker)                                                        

Above pictures  are from the ALA Flickr site.  I took the one below of Marika...her mom, Sarah Applegate, had to return to work from maternity leave today...My pictures are on my Flickr


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