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Calling libraries "fundamental to educational excellence, fundamental to economic well-being, and fundamental to our democracy," Mary Hatwood Futrell has pledged the National Education Association's assistance in "forging coalitions for the public good"--this year's theme of the American Library Association. Ms. Futrell, president of the NEA, presented her remarks at the ALA's midwinter meeting in Washington this month.

Noting that the NEA counts as members 18,000 school librarians, Ms. Futrell pointed out the associations' common goal of battling illiteracy. "I've always had a great deal of trouble understanding how we can advocate for excellence without advocating for libraries," she said.

Ms. Futrell also assailed those who are attempting to remove from school libraries books such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Calling them "self-appointed guardians of morality" and "domestic Ayatollahs in our midst," Ms. Futrell cautioned teachers and librarians against "standing by idly" as such critics point "a loaded gun at academic freedom." Instead, she advised librarians to "work with us harder than in the past" to oppose censorship.

Robin McKinley and Trina Schart Hyman have won the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals, two of the most prestigious awards for creators of children's books.

Ms. McKinley is the author of The Hero and the Crown published by Greenwillow Books. Her award is for the most distinguished contribution to American children's literature published in 1984.

Ms. Hyman is the illustrator of Saint George and the Dragon, the mythic tale as retold by Margaret Hodges and published by Little, Brown. Her award recognizes the most distinguished American children's picture book published in 1984. The recipients were selected by the Association for Library Service to Children and announced at the ALA's midwinter meeting this month.

The American Association of School Librarians, a division of the ALA, plans to make April the first annual School-Library Media Month in an effort to improve the image of school librarians.

"We do feel that people are not totally aware of what school-library people are involved in," said Elizabeth B. Day, president of the 6,000-member division, in an interview this month. "A lot of people have the traditional stereotyped [idea] of what the school librarian does," according to Ms. Day. But due in part to the education-reform movement and the rise of technology in the schools, Ms. Day said, the librarian's role has broadened to include responsibilities for and expertise in technology, curriculum, and even political activism.

As one image-builder, Ms. Day said, the division will develop a brochure for national education groups that provides information on librarians' new areas of expertise.

More than 3,500 school leaders, teachers, parents, and activists in Massachusetts' desegregated school districts have received the first issue of a new publication called Equity and Choice. Published by the Institute for Responsive Education, an independent, nonprofit organization affiliated with Boston University's School of Education Program on Parent Involvement, the journal is intended to serve as a forum for sharing ideas, practices, and programs in school desegregation. The first issue features articles on excellence in urban education, magnet schools in Massachusetts, and voluntary-desegregation plans in St. Louis and Cambridge, Mass.

The publication, which will appear three times a year, is available to charter subscribers for $22 annually, with bulk discounts also available. For more information, write to Equity and Choice, ire, 605 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Mass. 02215.

The Association of American Publishers has reached an agreement with the Anne Arundel (Md.) Public Schools on a policy statement and the development of guidelines covering classroom reproduction of copyrighted materials.

aap officials called the district's move a "further step in the development of voluntary, cooperative relations between publishers and educational institutions regarding educational use of copyrighted works.''

Allegations that "systemwide infringement" of software, audiovisual materials, textbooks, and other publications was taking place in the district were brought to the AAP's attention last year, according to Carol A. Risher, director of the copyright division of the association.

The group met with the district's new superintendent, Robert Rice, and together, they developed a policy under which the district will enforce specific rules and procedures governing the reproduction and use of copyrighted works by faculty members, Ms. Risher explained.

The National Wildlife Federation has published the premiere issue of NatureScope, an activity guide for elementary-school educators who want to teach about nature, science, and conservation. It is produced by the staff of Ranger Rick magazine.

The publication, which will come out bimonthly during the school year, is designed to be used with existing elementary curricula as well as in nature-center education classes, museums, scouting activities, and summer-camp programs, according to promotional material.

Each issue of NatureScope will focus on one topic, with the first issue featuring the world of insects and future issues scheduled to delve into the areas of dinosaurs, birds, and weather. For more information, write to Ranger Rick's NatureScope, National Wildlife Federation, Dept. 180, 1412 16th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.

Peterson's Guides, publishers of a variety of college and graduate-school information manuals for high-school and college students, has announced the establishment of an office in Princeton, N.J., that will provide advice and information to prospective college students and their families. It is the first of several such offices the publications organization plans nationwide.

The Peterson's College Information Center will attempt to bring the firm's educational and career information directly to students, parents, and researchers in print and electronic form, according to promotional materials. In addition, center staff members will be on hand to help students use the available resources.

For high-school students and their parents in particular, the center will offer help with essay writing, admissions interviews, college visits, and financial planning.

The cost of providing these services will vary, according to the organization, and exact fees have not yet been set.--ab

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