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Alexander Seeks To Involve Libraries in America 2000

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Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander last week launched a campaign to involve libraries in the Bush Administration's strategy for reaching the national education goals.

"There's no way to have a community enterprise to improve education without including libraries,'' Mr. Alexander said in announcing the formation of the "America 2000 Library Partnership'' at the George Mason Regional Library in Annandale, Va.

The event also featured the president of the American Library Association, Marilyn Miller, and representatives of several federal agencies that are to play unspecified roles in the initiative.

The agencies are the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress, the National Commission on Libraries and Information Sciences, and the National Institute for Literacy.

In response to questions from reporters, Mr. Alexander said that while the initiative would not at first involve any new federal funds, "We may come up with proposals that require and deserve federal funding.''

The Secretary did not say how conferences to be held next year under the initiative would be funded.

The first project will be "training institutes'' to inform librarians of ways they can "help their communities reach the national education goals,'' Mr. Alexander said, adding that the first ones would be announced within a month.

Mr. Alexander and Diane S. Ravitch, the assistant secretary for educational research and improvement, also said they plan to involve librarians in the development of SMARTLINE, a computer network the Education Department hopes to establish for the purpose of disseminating research and other information to schools. They said that the system will use libraries as dissemination points, and that it could be used to link public and school libraries.

Federal officials are planning to hold a 1993 conference for school and public librarians. They also intend to improve data collection on public-library services for young people and to provide libraries with Education Department publications aimed at parents, according to a press release.--J.M.

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