April 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

ALA Plans Library Declaration Signing in Philadelphia

EH_7_9_13_DeclarationThe American Library Association (ALA), which will hold its annual Midwinter conference in Philadelphia on January 24 to 28, aims to draw attention to the nation’s cutbacks in school and public library funding by hosting a public signing of the Declaration for the Right to Libraries in the city.

Philadelphia is hard hit by a lack of access to school libraries and certified school librarians, where more than 135,000 students are losing access to these desperately needed learning tools. According to the ALA, only 16 certified school librarians remain in the Philadelphia School District, which provided more than 65 librarians in 2011, and more than 93 percent of schools in the city do not have a library staffed by a certified school librarian.

In addition, funding has been severely cut over the past few years for the after school program of the Free Library of Philadelphia, which serves more than 80,000 school children annually.

The signing event will held at the Parkway Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia System at 3:00 pm on January 23. ALA President Barbara Stripling will be joined by representatives from a range of library groups, including the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA), the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA), the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA), the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

Event speakers will include Eileen Kern, PSLA president; Janis Stubbs, PALA president; Eileen Palmer, NJLA president; Gail Dickinson, AASL president; and Siobhan A. Reardon, president and director of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Declaration signing events have been held nationwide since its inception in July of 2013. Library supporters also can sign the Declaration virtually.

Karyn M. Peterson About Karyn M. Peterson

Karyn M. Peterson (kpeterson@mediasourceinc.com) is a former News Editor ofSLJ.