Senator Reed offered the amendment on June 18. Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director of the American Library Association Washington Office, sent the message below, which includes the entry in the Congressional Record:
[Congressional Record Volume 159, Number 87 (Tuesday, June 18, 2013)] [Senate] [Pages S4546-S4554]
Mr. REED. Mr. President, I rise to add my support to S. 744, the comprehensive immigration bill we have been debating over the past week.......
The second amendment, No. 1223, recognizes the longstanding role that libraries have played in helping new Americans learn English, American civics, and integrate into our local communities. It ensures that they continue to have a voice in these critical efforts. Across the United States, libraries are the cornerstone of all sorts of educational activities. In fact, according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), more than 55 percent of new Americans use a public library at least once a week.
Libraries offer learning opportunities to new Americans in a trusted environment. We have to recognize the vital importance of libraries as we ask individuals to come forward to learn English, to learn civics, and to learn the skills that are required to participate fully in the life of the American people.
This amendment expands on the recent partnership between U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and IMLS, and ensures that libraries remain a keystone and a resource for new Americans. This amendment would add the IMLS as a member of the Task Force on New Americans to help direct integration policy and clarify the role that libraries will continue to play in facilitating these services.