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« Here we go! SKJ4ALA is launched | Main | It all comes together for a New York Times story on school libraries...finally! »

"Give us libraries! Give us librarians!"

It sure takes any librarian's breath away to click on a New York Times link titled "South African Children Push for Better Schools" and find out that the children marched to improve education, equalize education by clamoring for libraries and librarians in their schools. Some children do have good school libraries but they are in the the country’s formerly all-white suburban high schools which can afford a well-stocked library because parents pay annual fees of more than $2,200 per child.

The march was organized by the group Equal Education which is fighting for equal educational opportunities for all South African children, starting by raising money to replace broken windows. Calling for school libraries is their first attempt at a national issue. They are already getting results.

I posted this story on Facebook and the AASL and LM_NET discussion lists and got many responses. One of them was from Sue Giffard from the Ethical Culture School in New York City who shared that the young girl from the suburban school with a good school library is her niece! She should be thanked for working for other students' access to the resources she has.

I also heard from Dr. Lucille Thomas who has been an inspiration for me during my whole library career. A past president of SLMS (School Library Media Section of the New York Library Association), president of the Brooklyn Public Library, and active in ALA and AASL, she is responsible for School Library Media Day in New York State and worked to get April named National School Library Media Month. She was so excited to read the article from the AASLForum that she called me at school. I was in NYC for the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries meeting but called her back as soon as I had a chance. Her comment, echoed by others who e-mailed with me, is that it would be so wonderful to see United States students marching and shouting, "Give us libraries! Give us librarians!"

I couldn't agree more!


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