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After calling Senator Jim Halligan and House Speaker Chris Benge's offices
during the past week and talking to secretaries and others, I finally
decided yesterday to email Senator Halligan personally to ask him
specifically about Oklahoma's HB 3029--- which would, in essence, allow
school districts to ignore the state's mandate that requires that the
district have a certified school librarian and that the school provide a
library budget for the purchase of library materials.  This HB would be in
place for two years (until 2012) if the Senate approved the bill as it was
originally written.  However,......

I received an email from Senator Halligan this morning stating:

*"The title is off the bill."*

In other words, it is still a work in progress (they aren't giving up on
this) and it will go back to conference for further work at a later date,
----but* it will not go to the Governor to sign!!!*  In order for this bill
to have been enacted as law for the 2010-2011 school year, it would have
been required to pass the Senate by this Thursday, April 22.

So...*this is a VICTORY for Oklahoma's children because they keep their
school librarians for 2010-2011 !!!!*     --- but it only helps to buy
time... this is battle that Oklahoma's school librarians continue to fight
each year.  Instead of slowing down and waiting until the next ugly, "Remove
the School Librarian!" bill pops up out of conference, Oklahoma's school
librarians, as well as the Oklahoma Library Association, need to work to
educate school superintendents, principals, and our community stakeholders
of the importance of school librarians to student success!  But....I won't
be a slave-driver!!  We can start on that tomorrow---the Oklahoma Library
Association conference is this week, so now's the time to re-group and
re-educate our stakeholders!!

In the meantime, "do the Happy Dance!"

Shonda Brisco
Assistant Professor / Curriculum Materials Librarian
Mary L. Williams Curriculum Materials Library
001 Willard Hall
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078

"Digital Resources" columnist
School Library Journal

"It is more than ironic that school districts are willing to spend
hundreds of thousands of dollars on reading programs and staff
development which have had limited success in boosting test scores,
but are unwilling to invest in school library programs that show direct
correlations to student success."

~ Douglas Achterman,  2008 Study of California School Libraries

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