Johns, S., & Kachel, D. (2017). ESSA: An opportunity for school library funding. Teacher Librarian, (44)4, 8.
Authors Johns and Kachel stress the importance of school librarians and their advocates working locally in the assurance that library programs/resources receive federal funding from the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA) 2015. Because libraries are now legally acknowledged as “specialized instructional support personnel,” it is imperative that students have equitable access to school libraries. In response, the American Association of School Librarians has published a position statement of what constitutes an effective library program, with an emphasis on the role of the library as an instructional program. This program includes the teaching of every student and collaborating with every teacher, as well as curating digital resources in the content areas. Teacher librarians must also secure funding that may help them provide supplemental instruction in digital literacy, content-specific blended learning experiences, and personalized learning endeavors. The teacher-librarian, as a specialized instructional support person, has the power to enrich the learning experiences of all students, thus it is important to organize and secure grants at the district level. Library programs can be eligible for the following federal grants: Title 1, Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN); Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL); and Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants. To assist in advocacy, the AASL provides several resources including talking points and elevator speeches. I agree with the authors who stress the importance of understanding the language of ESSA in order to organize a local strategic funding committee. Most importantly, teacher-librarians must be vocal advocates about the library being at the center of teaching and learning in schools in order to secure a portion of the ESSA funding.