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URGENT! US Dept. of Education Early Learning Grants - Work with your state government to make sure libraries are included!

From Aimee Strittmatter, Executive Director of ALSC:

Hello, Early Literacy Advocates of the library world!

Please see the message below from ALA Associate Executive Director Emily Sheketoff, who manages the ALA Washington Office.  We encourage you to work with your state library or state library association to find out if you have representation on the Governor's Advisory Commissions.  If you do not, please work at getting your voice heard by the Governor's team working on the grant in your state.  Libraries need to be represented in the challenge grants as a key partner eligible to receive funding.  This is your chance!

As Emily states, "Use this time to connect with your Governor's education people and make suggestions for what should be part of your state's challenge grant application."

Some helpful information to state your case is bulleted below.  Here's a link to advocacy talking points, with links to research (we're going to work on updating this in the next fiscal year):

Also, don't forget your own personal activities and impact stories are helpful too!

*         Public libraries exist (bricks and mortar) in almost every community and are primed to connect with parents before their children start school, serving as the parent's first teacher.  In fact, children's librarians reach and work with families and children in over 17,000 public libraries and 99,000 school libraries across the nation.  

*         Children's librarians are positioned to work with families across all socioeconomic statuses and cultural backgrounds.  

*         With the help of well-funded public libraries and pre-kindergarten programs, children's librarians are positioned to reach children before they start school and help develop their early literacy skills.  Reading is an essential life skill and learning to read begins at birth, before school.  

*         Children's librarians are motivators and help children develop their love of lifelong learning.  

*         The public library effectively engages in providing early literacy parent education and works with community partners to do so.

*         Public libraries have early education resources and materials that will assist parents in becoming effective teachers for their children right from birth.  

Thank you!

Aimee Strittmatter, Executive Director
Association for Library Service to Children 50 E Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611
312-280-2163 (tel)| 312-280-5271 (fax)  |

From: Emily Sheketoff
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 4:48 PM
Subject: RE: Race To The Top - Eary Learning Challenge

Today, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a $500 million for a new state competition to establish and expand high quality early learning programs.  The 7 states which have already received Race to the Top funds,  will be able to apply for an additional $200 million.

This grant money is to be used to increase access to quality early learning programs for low income and disadvantaged children, design integrated and transparent systems that align their early care and education programs, bolster training and support for the early learning workforce (professional development money for staff), create robust evaluation systems to document and share effective practices and successful programs, and help parents make informed decisions about care for their children.

The specific criteria for this competition is not yet known, but ALA has learned that it would probably be similar to Race To The Top grants and all the money must be out the door by the end of the 2011 calendar year. Since the two Departments are working on such a short time frame, there will be no formal comment period, but instead they have set up a blog in which comments are being requested.  Here is the link to that blog.

The two Departments expect to have information on this competition by late summer.  At which point there will be a 6-8 week period where states can put together a grant request.  The money will go out before the end of the calendar year.

We earlier advised library leaders to get onto their state's Governor's Advisory Commissions.  These Commissions will probably be preparing their state's grant application.

Use this time to connect with your Governor's education people and make suggestions for what should be part of your state's challenge grant application.  


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