Tuesday, March 25, 2008

School Libraries in Washington State

I received the news today that three young mothers in Washington State succeeded in their efforts to capture serious money from the state legislature to fund school libraries. My heart burst with pride, as one of those moms is my niece Susan McBurney. I had been following the effort to secure library funding for some months; Susan and I had exchanged numerous emails as she sought supportive advocacy materials and kept me in the loop of her thoughtful campaign. Four million dollars constitutes the first-ever state-level support for school libraries in Washington! Susan and her collaborators have been asked to advise a similar campaign in neighboring Oregon, as well as Arizona. My sister Mariette also deserves applause: she was the loving grandmother who stepped in to care for Susan's two young book-lovers when Susan was deeply immersed in the campaign. Susan is not trained as a librarian; her doctorate is in linguisitics. But she loves books, visits the public library regularly with her kids, and has bookshelves in the living room bursting with good stories. It sounds to me as if the State of Washington is cooking up a recipe for success with school libraries. Hooray!