November 19, 2017

ESSA—and Federal Support of School Libraries—Passes Senate

In the new education bill, the definition of “specialized instructional support personnel” is updated to include “school librarians.” That language “lays the groundwork for new attitudes in state and district leadership” regarding school library services, says library advocate Dorcas Hand.

ESEA Rewrite Passes in House; Senate Vote Expected Monday

If signed into law, the new education bill would be the first piece of federal legislation in over 50 years to provide school libraries with a dedicated revenue stream to enhance school library services and resources.

The E-Rate Window Is Wide Open: So What Next?

Libraries and schools applying for E-Rate’s Wi-Fi program have an extra $1.5 billion of funds to tap until the March 26 deadline. Here are some tips and tools to maximize your application.

New Proposed Legislation Requires Public Disclosure for New York City Libraries

In the wake of accusations that suspended Queens Library (QL) president and CEO Thomas W. Galante mishandled library funds, Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D–Queens) proposed legislation on October 21 that would require all three of New York’s public library systems to publicly disclose how their money is spent.

FCC Approves E-Rate Plan to Inject $2 Billion into WiFi for Schools and Libraries

On July 11, the FCC narrowly passed the “Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” for the Program to Modernize E-Rate which translates into $2 billion over the next two years towards WiFi funding in schools and libraries.

The FCC To Vote on $2 Billion E-Rate Proposal, Librarians Are Speaking Out

On July 11, a big E-Rate vote for Wi-Fi funding for schools and libraries is coming up. The latest FCC proposal states that libraries’ Wi-Fi funding be determined by a space’s square footage—$1 per square foot. With $2 billion at stake, librarians across the country are objecting to this funding formula with claims that it doesn’t serve high-need urban libraries where square footage does not represent the number of visitors.

EdLiNC Calls on FCC to Double E-Rate Funding

The Education Library Networks Coalition—which includes the American Library Association and the International Society for Technology in Education—is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to double the funding for E-rate, according to EdLiNC’s co-chair Jon Bernstein. The coalition also asks that the E-rate program offer more “scalable” goals for local entities, with limited national mandates.

Nominate a Connected Educator as a White House “Champion of Change”

There is only a short time left to nominate a connected educator for the White House’s next “Champions of Change” event, which celebrates education leaders who creatively use technology to help kids learn. Those selected will be invited to the White House in October—in honor of Connected Educator Month—to showcase their efforts to support more connected schools and students. Online nominations are due by midnight on Friday, September 20.

ALA Urges FCC to Accelerate E-Rate Goals

The American Library Association on Monday asked the Federal Communications Commission to accelerate the goals of E-rate, the program that provides discounted Internet access and telecommunications services to U.S. schools and libraries. ALA’s statement specifically calls for faster deployment of high-capacity broadband and new strategic investments in infrastructure, as well as program changes to save costs and streamline the process so that more schools and libraries can participate in the program.

Educators, Parents Fight NYC Bid to Bypass State Mandate for School Librarians

New York City’s librarians, teachers, and parents are prepping for a major battle with the city’s Department of Education on the heels of its official request to the New York State Education Department last week that it be exempted from state minimum staffing requirements for certified school library media specialists. The city’s move follows years of quiet noncompliance with the state mandate despite two petitions from the local teachers union to the State Commissioner of Education.