By Gina Macris
Rhode Island Library Report
WARWICK – (Nov. 2, 2012) – U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, who has “rock star” status among librarians all across the country, finally got his membership card to the American Library Association.
On Oct. 21, about 130 librarians turned out at the Rhode Island School of Design Library to honor the Senator as the Congressional champion of libraries, but there was no Jack Reed.
Mechanical problems with a plane in Washington had kept Reed and other passengers
But Nov. 2, Reed apologized for the no-show in person to librarians attending the fall conference of the Cornucopia of Rhode Island, which is dedicated to improving library services for people of color.
The keynote speaker at the Cornucopia conference, Barbara K. Stripling, president elect of the American Library Association, formally conferred honorary membership on Reed.
Reed has sponsored every major piece of legislation helping libraries since he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996.
“I can’t emphasize how critical the role of libraries is today,” said Reed, who as a boy growing up in a working class family in Cranston, used to walk two miles to the Auburn branch of the Cranston Public Library to read books and do homework.
“The library is the only place you can get a job” for people who do not have computers in their homes, he said.
“Unless you can get on a computer and file your application electronically, it’s not going to happen,” he said.
“It’s all about giving our children the power, tools, inspiration, and spirit of inquiry that is at the core of education,” Reed said.
“I’m proud to be a librarian,” he said, accepting a certificate from Stripling.