Friday, August 2, 2013

IASL Vice-President Christine Sturgeon meets with Iowa Senator Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge

Senator Beall serves on the Education Committee for the Iowa Senate, and represents parts of Webster, Calhoun, Humboldt, and Pocahontas counties.  He is a former teacher and journalist, and was interested in what I’m doing here at Manson Northwest Webster Schools and about the concerns of the IASL Board, especially regarding HF 472 which gives Iowa school districts additional funding if they share certain positions, including librarians.  

Mr. Beall stated that he voted for the bill (as did all of his colleagues; the vote was 50-0 in the Senate, and 99-0 in the House).  No one in the Capitol thought this bill was controversial.  In this librarian’s opinion, I’m sure it would have been fodder for an election fight if one did - who wants to be seen as being against additional money for schools?  

When Mr. Beall arrived, my para and I were setting up a book fair in the library to support a new initiative between the elementary library and the preschool called 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. (I blogged about it here.)  I told him about working with others in the state to hold Iowa’s first student-led conference on education, ISLI (sign up today, for you and your students).  I told him about changing to the bookstore model at both schools in order to increase student reading.  I said that none of this would be possible if I was shared with another district.  He reminded me that school boards don’t only look at the bottom line, but also what is best for students (he’s been a school board member, too).  I hope he’s right.

What I learned from the experience is that our - or at least my! - elected officials want to hear from us, and they can help.  Mr. Beall is going to help us get some positive press for ISLI, and told me about grant opportunities for my school library.  I know he’ll let me know next time the phrase “teacher librarian” or “school librarian” is featured in a bill for his consideration.

Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge, with IASL Vice-President Christine Sturgeon, July 2013.