SLRI Advocacy Update

March 2016

You Clicked, We Counted.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our resources and staffing survey. We heard from 163 librarians all over the state. You can read some of our key findings at this link. If you have any questions about the survey, or want to add additional comments, please email
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Meeting with Commissioner Wagner Set for Next Week

Sarah Hunicke, Cheryl McCarthy, and Sarah Morenon have been prepping for their March 28 meeting with Commissioner Ken Wagner, focusing on three key requests:

  1. Communicating Basic Educational Program (BEP) terminology definitions and clarification of what constitutes a school library media program to all Superintendents

  2. Adding the AASL 21st Century Standards to the RIDE web site and BEP

  3. Notifying Cumberland and MIddletown that they are out of compliance with the BEP in terms of library staffing

They will report out on the results of this meeting (expected to be the first of several) next month.

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Why Can't Jack Reed Come to Our Rescue?

Several survey comments mentioned Senator Jack Reed as a champion of school libraries and wondered why we couldn't turn to him for help at the state level. We actually already have; Meredith Moore and Sarah Morenon met with two of his people a few months ago.

Unfortunately, as a federal senator, he cannot effect change at the local level. In addition, they explained that even though ESSA mentions school libraries, it cannot force any mandates. However, his office is willing to help where they can.

To that end, Sarah is working to schedule Senator Reed as a Reading Week reader in Providence. She has also reached out to David Cicilline's office. We're hoping that all appearances will bring with them media coverage.

YOU Can Help Effect Change

All RI school librarians need to pitch in on the advocacy front if we want to improve our situations. We are working on several easy ways for you to get involved:

  • General Assembly communications: Watch for sample emails and letters that you can forward to your state representatives during School Library Month

  • Friends of the Library: Have you established relationships with your parent groups? Do you have students, teachers, and community members who would be willing to send letters to the editor on your behalf? We'll be sharing a blueprint for collecting testimonials during Reading Week.

  • School Committee outreach: Invite school committee members to your library to see how you interact with students and teach them skills. SLRI can provide you with AASL brochures and bookmarks to distribute.
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