D.C. Chief Librarian Testifies At U.S. Department of Education Hearing

DC Public Library’s Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper testified recently at a U.S. Department of Education hearing urging the Obama administration to require that state libraries play a role in education programs that improve literacy. 
The U.S. Department of Education is launching a $250 million literacy initiative, titled Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Initiative, to advance literacy in students from birth to grade 12. A portion of the funding is for competitive grants for a comprehensive literacy initiative that includes improving pre-literacy skills, reading and writing for students including limited English-proficient students and students with disabilities.  The hearing sought input from educators, non-profit leaders and the public on requirements for the grant application.  
Cooper stressed the importance of libraries being required partners for early, primary and secondary literacy programs in grant application submissions. "Public libraries everywhere are already doing the work you encourage,” said Cooper who also testified in her capacity as State Librarian for the District of Columbia.  "Requiring state libraries as participants in the grant planning process would ensure that this good work happens on purpose, not only because of good intention."  
Additionally, Micki Freeny, coordinator of children and youth services for the DC Public Library and former director of the Prince Georges public library system encouraged the U.S. Department of Education to include public libraries on school and community literacy teams in her testimony.

The competitive grants will be awarded to state education agencies that must subgrant at least 95 percent of the funds to local education agencies or early childhood providers. 

Nov. 23, 2010