In response to the ongoing rightwing hysteria of school students free access to books Federal legislation was introduced last week that would expand access to school libraries and codify student First Amendment Rights. The Right to Read Act (S. 5064 and H.R. 9056), introduced by Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed and Arizona Representative Raúl Grijalva, would put a certified school librarian in every public school library across the country.
Among the Right to Read Act provisions:
- Up to $500 million in Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grants
- An increase in the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program to $100 million
- A concerted investment in the recruitment, training, and retaining of certified school librarians
- Reaffirming student First Amendment Rights to access school library materials, with expanded liability protection for teachers and school librarians.
“Literacy is the cornerstone of a high-quality education in every society, yet today we are seeing our nation’s children subjected to politically led efforts to block access to books. Censoring our education system based on bias is national travesty.” said Rep. Grijalva in the press release for the Right to Read Act. “We must ensure that our school libraries are equipped to empower and engage students from every background which is why I am proud to introduce the Right to Read Act with Senator Reed. This legislation will support the development of effective school libraries, including recruitment and retention of librarians, and provide federal funding for literacy resources in high need communities. This bill will also help protect the right to access diverse, inclusive school library collections. Together, we will build and develop effective school libraries with diverse and robust resources to deliver positive and formative opportunities for students.”