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Shannon Miller: “Let’s Declare Our Rights to Libraries”

This post originally appeared on Shannon Miller’s Van Meter Library Voice blog. Shannon kindly asked us to share the news of this good cause on the EasyBib blog, and we are excited to join her and other teacher librarians involved in Libraries Change Lives! All content and photos are used with permission from Shannon.

I love being a teacher librarian. I feel blessed and fortunate every day.


In this profession, I am surrounded by brilliant, wonderful, and kind teacher librarians who are my mentors, colleagues, and most of all, my friends. There is not a group of educators more passionate and persistent about making a difference in the lives of others.

DSC_0155Every day, I am surrounded by amazing young people, educators, and families within my school at Van Meter and throughout the world. In these spaces, I am motivated, encouraged, and excited to make a difference in the lives of others… especially those of the children that I am lucky enough to be with every day.

We have a space that brings us books, creativity, critical thinking, digital resources, connections, and collaboration all throughout the day. It is within the school and online. It is our school library. It is one of the best spaces there is at our school and within our community. We are all very lucky to have our library and the voice that it gives to all of us.

What Is the Declaration for the Right to Libraries?
Barbara Stripling, our ALA President, is making sure the voice of all libraries and librarians is heard in each and every school and community within our country. She is lifting up the importance of school libraries in the Declaration for the Right to Libraries, as the cornerstone document of her presidential initiative, Libraries Change Lives.

As she states in the video below, “It’s time for our voices to be heard. Lets’ declare our rights to libraries.”

Please take a few minutes to watch this wonderful message from Barbara:

As the ALA website states:

The Declaration for the Right to Libraries is the cornerstone document of ALA President Barbara Stripling’s presidential initiative, Libraries Change Lives, which is designed to build the public will and sustained support for America’s right to libraries of all types – academic, special, school and public.

In the next year, libraries of all types will hold signing ceremonies, during which community members can visibly declare their right to have vibrant libraries in their community. The signing ceremony is intended to serve as the launching point for continued and vibrant community engagement to:

  • Increase public and media awareness about the critical role of libraries in communities around the country
  • Inspire ongoing conversations about the role of the library in the community
  • Cultivate a network of community allies and advocates for the library
  • Position the library as a trusted convener to help in the response to community issues


What We’re Doing
DSC_0155At Van Meter, we will be having a very special signing event during fall conferences in October. We will have short programs presented by our students to tell the story of what school libraries bring to our school communities and families.

I can’t wait to start planning this with all of the students at our school. I want their voices to be heard not just within Van Meter, but throughout the world because of this event. It will make a very important impact as our community signs the Declaration above that will make a difference in our country.

We all need to get involved and plan signing events to support the Libraries Change Lives’ Declaration for the Right to Libraries campaign. You can download the Declaration from the ALA website – a larger one will be available in the ALA Store soon.

Get Involved!

I hope you plan a special event and signing of the Declaration within your community too. Everyone’s voice will make such an important difference.

Shannon Miller is the district teacher librarian at Van Meter Community School, IA and is the author of the award-winning Van Meter Library Voice blog. She has presented at conferences across the country and is a member of the EasyBib Advisory Board. She is a Connecting People Shorty Award Recipient.