OELMA (Ohio School Library Media Association), the state professional organization for Ohio School librarians, successfully lobbied Ohio lawmakers to include language in a hotly debated budget bill that included funding for a professional librarian in schools across the state. That legislators recognized the importance of the "professional factor" to success in acquiring and effectively using 21st Century technologies and skills, is both heartening and inspired.
Initially, Ohio House Bill One called for funding for "media services and technical equipment". OELMA leadership suggested that the "media services factor" be reworded to "licensed librarian and media specialist factor." Presentations were made throughout the state about this effort, a wiki with talking points was developed and shared, and the push was on. As the budget was worked and re-worked, OELMA representatives monitored the bills' progress and informed membership regularly. The impact of the countries' economic crisis forced cuts and tough decisions about essential services across Ohio. In the end the language that included the "human factor" was adopted!
This is more than excellent for Ohio's students! School librarians across the state, are uniquely positioned to show leadership and give instruction about finding and critically evaluating web resources and technologies, creating and maintaining a positive "digital footprint," and being a productive, responsible, digital citizen. Thank you to OELMA and the thoughtful Ohio legislators who made this a possibility for all of Ohio's students.
Some detail about the this section of the bill can be found here.