by Dorcas Hand
TLA’s Gloria Meraz has compiled a one page summary of the essential issues in the 2015 budget cycle, one that is extremely important for school libraries. We need every TASL member to write letters and to encourage others to write letters in our behalf.
Maybe you are nervous because you’ve never done this before - very understandable. However, what you NEED to be nervous about is legislative support of school libraries – any support. We need to convince our legislators that we appreciate them, that we are paying attention when they don’t support us, and that we VOTE them into (and out of) office. We need to change their opinion that we don’t do any of those things. You can visit them in their home office; you can write them a letter; or you can send them an email.
And there is an easy approach available today. You can THANK your state legislators – every single one – for TexQuest, because that support helps you offer your school campus and district stronger and measurable services.
So, your ACTION ITEMS include:
- Be sure your district is signed up for TexQuest.
- Advertise the access details (login username and password) to your students and families and teach students and teachers how to use the resources well.
- Find examples of student work that relied on database research to use in your letters to the legislators.
- NOW you can write the letter. This checklist and templates are adapted from the TLA website.
- If you don't know who represents you, go to: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx . Type in your home address. You will get a list of your representatives, including state and federal officials.
- ASK your students to write letters using their own examples. It doesn’t matter if the database use occurred before TexQuest – the important thing is to convince readers of the importance of database access for strong student progress.
- Also ask PTA and teachers as well.
- Repeat throughout the fall to encourage repeat funding of TexQuest.
- If you work in a private school, you need to tell the legislators that your families also pay taxes and also need access to these resources. Texas has many small non-public schools with very tight budgets who are currently excluded from TexQuest .because Legislators need to be reminded how many students they have ignored and how many voters they could encourage by including private schools. Also, please join the TASL Private School Discussion Group - no additional membership fee involved.