The Texas Library Association now has an official YouTube channel. Currently featured is the presentation of the 2010-2011 Texas Bluebonnet Award master list by authors Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett at the Texas Book Festival. They are hilarious! Part I is embedded below.
Jennifer LaBoon, presenter
The 81st Legislative Session ended June 1 with “partisan meltdown” and many bills died.
Two key issues for schools were the K-12 databases and a full-time librarian on every campus. The databases funding made it through, but was not increased as requested. The state library will be doing some “creative” budgeting in order to keep the resources at the existing level. While we didn’t get quite what we wanted, we didn’t lose any ground.
The full-time librarian issue is a difficult one. There has been discussion of this for a long time, but many have been reluctant to press it with the legislators. The hope is that we could possibly replicate the standard for counselors, which are mandated at schools of 500 students or more. The timing must be right to move forward on the issue.
HB 915 specifies that TEA must consider of a school district provides a certified school librarian on a campus as part of the accountability rating for a district. The bill was referred to the Public Education committee, but never got a hearing. Inquiries into the feasibility of a similar bill in the Senate were met with heavy resistance – no unfunded mandates.
HB 3/ SB 3 was the “accountability” bill. Rep. Dennis Bonnen worked to amend the bill to include certified librarians as part of the accountability ratings. The amended language was stripped by the Conference Committee, as were most floor amendments added in the House. Bonnen did not give up, though, and worked with Rep. Rose to add library services to her amendment 72. Unfortunately, all amendments that passed the House were removed by the Senate.
School library advocacy efforts are important and all are encouraged to attend TLA Legislative Day. Legislators really do not realize that every school does not have a certified librarian on every campus and need to be made aware of the situation.
The school library study mandated by the last legislative session was presented in December 2008. It was very positive towards school libraries. Other initiatives include the Shirley Igo Award for PTA members who are supportive of their school libraries. TLA had a booth at state PTA conference and PTA had a booth at the TLA conference. The Spokane Moms are confirmed to present at TLA 2010.
Take home ideas:
Vote! for school board, legislators, congress
Create an administrator of the year award for an administrator who advocates for libraries
Create a librarian of the year awar
Create a Friends of School Libraries grou
Reach out to your PTA group and other civic groups
Attend Town Hall events
Invite legislators to school literacy events
Send thank you letters
Reach out to smaller districts around you
Attend Advocacy Pre-Conference at TLA 2010
Plan to attend Legislative Day in 2011 and TLA in Austin in 2011
Volunteer to help advocate for school libraries at these upcoming events:
PTA Summer Leadership Conference
Austin, July 24-25
Houston, October 1-4
The winner of the 2009 Texas Bluebonnet Award is:
One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice, illustrated by Andrea U’Ren. From the 151,963 votes cast by Texas 3rd-6th graders, this book emerged as the favorite.
Author and illustrator will both be on hand to receive the award at the Bluebonnet luncheon in Houston on April 2.
If you are attending TLA, be sure and purchase a ticket for this event with your registration. During the luncheon you will meet the ten extraordinary children that proudly represent each TLA district. The children will introduce and present the 2009 TBA to the winning author and illustrator. This presentation is always one of the highlights of the conference.
Kids in Mesquite agreed with the state. Our voting was as follows:
1st – One Potato, Two Potato
2nd – How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor
3rd – The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick