Letter to Obama

Here is a copy of the short letter I drafted to Obama. Feel free to use it or edit it for your own email response to the cut of Federal funding to school libraries.

On the link above is a form email that reaches the White House administration.

Please act and show the feds that NYC school librarians care about our students and how they will be affected by this decision!!

Dear Mr. President:

I am currently president of the NYC School Librarians’ Association. We are deeply perplexed by your decision to cut all funding for school libraries.

We applauded and honored your decision to make October Information Literacy Day and are transforming our library programs to make information literacy the cornerstone of our instruction. School libraries are computer labs embedded in an array of accessible and high-interest materials of all the media types that appeal to our students. More than ever, we need funding, to keep our computers and instruction up-to-date and our in this rapidly changing online teaching environment.

Within the context of reading and constructing knowledge, school librarians do more to unravel the Internet and its myriad resources than a computer lab teacher. Information is our expertise. We teach both narrative and hypertext. We also provide instruction on creative programs such as Hyperstudio and Adobe Creative Suite that integrate highly motivating video, audio, and animation elements into student work.

I agree that school libraries must transform into arenas of creativity and information-turned-knowledge, not just access, and librarians must become guides in creating new knowledge by concentrating on ways to process information and cut through media. Cutting funding will only thwart that transformation.

We need federal support to transform school libraries to ones that acquaint our students, of whom a hard 30% do not have Internet access at home, with tools for information, creativity, and with books that are accessible, motivating, and targeted for our populations. No two libraries are alike: all need a 21st century model of a learning commons and we are anxious to get on board with the swift changes taking place.

We hope that you can reinstate that grant to include new computers in libraries, increased broadband, creative software products, online automation, ELL materials, high-interest reading materials, and increased online resources.

We have confidence that you will hear our cry and understand the higher call to fund school libraries more than ever, but with new, higher expectations that we all are ready to achieve.

Yours sincerely,

Sara Lissa Paulson

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