FAME’s Legislative Committee is celebrating the passage
of House Bill 3, the “New Worlds Reading Initiative,” which will distribute books directly to the homes of kindergarten through fifth grade students reading below grade level. It also provides training and support for parents to learn reading strategies to assist students at home. The committee wrote letters and made calls of support for the bill and its Senate companion with two requests: that the $270 million/year bill be fully funded without using K-12 allocations and that students would have choices in the books offered. The bill is funded through an additional oil and gas tax, and students will choose from a variety of genres. Four-year universities with schools of education and reading specialties may apply to administer the program, which begins in Fall 2022.
We also wrote letters in support of the inclusion of library
media specialists in any state bonuses. Our request is and
continues to be that any statewide bonuses or pay be
written for “all state certified personnel” rather than
“teachers.” For the state, it is a matter of available funds.
For librarians, it is a matter of recognizing our contribution to student success.
This past year brought several challenges for the
committee, including the retirement of FAME’s lobbyist
and the closure of the legislature to outside visitors.
However, our focus hasn’t changed. We continue to
advocate for our members and the students we serve. But
we need your help! Upcoming school board elections can
have a tremendous impact on your library, and many
groups are working to censor free access to information
and silence diverse voices in K-12 schools. Please
join us for updates in our Q&A session at FAME 2021!