Please join AASL and ALA in thanking Senator Jack Reed and Representative Raúl Grijalva for introducing the Right to Read Act (S. 5064 and H.R. 9056) on 10/6/2022! The ALA/AASL goal is to reach 5000 ‘thank you’ signatures and we need everyone to sign and spread the word to colleagues and community members to sign as well. Go to bit.ly/Right2Read22 to sign!
Senator Reed (D-RI) and Representative Grijalva (D-AZ-03) are strong supporters of every student’s right to read and the need for the equity of access to well-stocked school libraries staffed by certified school librarians.
Senator Reed’s press release about the bill includes their strong statements of support. Senator Reed says, “Quality teaching and effective school libraries go hand-in-hand with securing the right to read for our students. We know that literacy is key to unlocking opportunity and success.” Representative Grijalva says, “Literacy is the cornerstone of a high-quality education in every society, yet today we are seeing our nation’s children subjected to politically led efforts to block access to books. Censoring our education system based on bias is [a] national travesty.”
Leaders in AASL with support from the ALA Public Policy and Advocacy office have been able to meet with the Senator’s and Representative’s offices to provide input and comments on this bill. This important legislation authorizes funding and:
- Reaffirms that students’ first amendment rights apply to school libraries.
- Provides protections for teachers and librarians acting to provide access to reading materials to students.
- Ensures that low-income, minority, children, children with disabilities, and English language learners are not disproportionally enrolled in schools that lack effective school libraries.
- Supports the development of effective school libraries, including the recruitment, retention, and professional development of State-certified school librarians.
- Protects access to evidence-based reading instruction, family literacy programs, well-stocked and staffed school libraries with a wide range of reading materials and the freedom for students to choose what to read.
- Addresses the information digital literacy needs of today’s students.
The introduction of the Right to Read Act is just the first step in the legislative process. Signing the thank you card for Senator Reed and Representative Grijalva lets the legislators know that our community will be behind them at every step.
After the election and the seating of the new legislature, AASL and ALA will be asking supporters to reach out to their own legislators to co-sponsor the bill. We will also be working with other organizations to support the bill and will be pushing for congressional hearings. So, watch your inboxes for further information and alerts.
In the meantime, I am so excited about the introduction of the Right to Read Act and what this legislation means for our students! I know that we will be able to reach and go beyond our goal of 5000 signatures for the thank you for Senator Reed and Representative Grijalva. Every signature counts. Please join me in signing and sharing: bit.ly/Right2Read22.
Author: Kathy Lester, AASL President 2022-2023