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Rally to Restore Philadelphia School Librarians Recap

The Rally to Restore Philadelphia School Librarians was a huge success with approx 150 people attending.  PA legislators Rep. Tom Murt, Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Sen. Vincent Huges and Sen. Larry Farnese spoke.  President of the Philadelphia Federations of Teachers Jerry Jordan, City Coucilwoman and parent Kendra Brooks, and teacher representative of WE the Caucus of working Educators Jessica Way made moving and compelling speeches.  Debbie Grill former School District of Philadephia school librarian and leader in the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS) relayed the history of cuts in SDP library programs and losses to students.  PSLA's President Cathi Fuhrman presented the loss of librarians statewide.  Senior student Kayla Johnson told her story of "privilege" as she attended kindergarten through 12th grade at SDP schools that still have librarians and what that has meant to her.  Four Philadelphia television stations covered the event.  View the video here: https://vimeo.com/387046910

Rally to Restore Philadelphia School Librarians

Friday, January 24, in front of the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) Administration Building, 440 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, from 12:30 to 1:00pm (students have a half-day of school) The event is being organized by PSLA and EveryLibrary, a non-profit, national political action committee for libraries. APPS, the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, is also supporting the rally, assisting with local arrangements. The Administration Building is four blocks from the Convention Center where the ALA Midwinter Conference is being held.

  • Although there are over 200,000 students in SDP with 341 schools, there are fewer than 8 school librarians in the district, making it the worst librarian to student ratio in the nation.
  • PSLA’s message: Every student deserves a certified school librarian and a quality school library.
  • Lauren Comito, founder of Urban Librarians Unite and recent recipient of Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award will be the MC.
  • Speakers include PA State Rep. Thomas Murt, a primary co-sponsor of HB 1355 and Senator Larry Farnese, a sponsor of SB 752. Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Jessica Way, Caucus of Working Educators, Helen Gym, and Kendra Brooks, Philadelphia City Councilwomen, and a parent and student. There will be a photographer and media to cover the event.
  • Please RSVP at https://www.saveschoollibrarians.org/rally_psla_20 .

Behind the Scenes: Local and State Advocacy Committee

“Behind the Scenes” the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Board approved a special committee: Local and State Advocacy Committee for a duration of two years (January 2019 – December 2020). The co-chairs, Deb Kachel, Legislative Liaison, and Cathi Fuhrman, President-Elect, will be seeking members for this committee.

Proposed by Cathi Fuhrman, President-Elect and Allison Mackley, President

Background: According to the PSLA Bylaws, special committees can be established by the president and approved by the board. The president acts as an ex-officio member, and the chair(s) are appointed by the president with board approval. The chair(s) are voting members of the PSLA Advisory Council.

Rationale: Although PSLA has approved the role of Legislative Liaison to work as a member of the Communications Committee, legislative efforts must extend beyond the work of one person.

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