The SKILLs Act, MSLA and You

By Alma Ramos-McDermott, Simmons College

An open letter to all school librarians:

Please familiarize yourself with the following names: Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Representative Raul Grijalva (R-AZ), and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI). TheseSenator Reed gentlemen stood up for school librarians on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, June 26th to introduce legislation to Congress called the SKILLs Act (Strengthening Kids Interest in Learning and Libraries).

MSLA was at the SKILLs Act press conference and the photos below (taken by ALA photographers) show our great joy at being part of this ground breaking moment in school librarian history. We were front and center, signifying MSLA’s desire to be front and center in the fight to help put (and keep) school librarians in every school in the state of Massachusetts.

This legislation has several parts to it, and can be viewed in full at . Representative Raul GrijalvaEnsuring that school librarians be qualified, (so districts will have to fund a librarian), and that these qualified school librarians be placed in every school by 2010 is of great significance to those of us in the school library profession.

If you are reading this, that means you are a school librarian interested in keeping your job and adding more librarians to schools across the state. Your help is needed to accomplish this task. Please write your senators and ask them to cosponsor S.1699, while representatives can be asked to cosponsor H.R.2864. This legislation needs to be in place by the time Congress votes in August.

I end this open letter with a poem attributed to Charles Osgood, CBS news’ “poet in residence.” The play on words are similar to those from the Abbott & Costello “Who’s on First?” skit, however, the important point for you to remember is not to be a Somebody, Anybody, Nobody or Everybody. Instead, be an “I.” Say: “I will do it. I will contact my senator and representative about the SKILLs Act. I will be proactive. I will make it happen. I will make a difference.”

Thank you for your willingness to get involved and help put this important piece of legislation onto the books. Contact your senators and representatives today, while school librarians have a chance to be noticed by Congress. Give our students a future.

A poem about responsibility By Charles Osgood

There was a most important job that needed to be done,
And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask
Is who exactly will it be who'll carry out the task?

Anybody could have told you that Everybody knew
That this was something Somebody would surely have to do.
Nobody was unwilling; Anybody had the ability.
But Nobody believed that it was their responsibility.

It seemed to be a job that Anybody could have done,
If Anybody thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since Everybody recognized that Anybody could,
Everybody took for granted that Somebody would.

But Nobody told anybody that we are aware of,
That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And Nobody took it on himself to follow through,
And do what Everybody thought that Somebody would do.

When what Everybody needed so did not get done at all,
Everybody was complaining that somebody dropped the ball.
Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame,
And Everybody looked around for Somebody to blame.

Somebody should have done the job
And Everybody should have,
But in the end Nobody did
What Anybody could have.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 08 July 2007 )