[Federal Register: February 16, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 32)]
[Page 7629-7630]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Improving Literacy through School Libraries Program

AGENCY: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of 

ACTION: Notice of final priority.


SUMMARY: The Deputy Secretary of Education announces a priority under 
the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program. The Deputy 
Secretary may use this priority for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 
2007 and later years. We take this action to allow for the best use of 
Federal funding to improve school library media centers in low-income 
communities. We intend for this priority to help strengthen the 
connection between school libraries and the instructional programs in 
these schools and districts.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This priority is effective March 19, 2007.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Irene Harwarth, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3W227, Washington, DC 20202-
6200. Telephone: (202) 401-3751 or via Internet: Irene.Harwarth@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the Improving Literacy 
Through School Libraries Program (LSL) is to improve student reading 
skills and academic achievement by providing students with increased 
access to up-to-date school library materials; well-equipped, 
technologically advanced school library media centers; and well-
trained, professionally certified school library media specialists. 
Entities eligible for funding are local educational agencies (LEAs) in 
which 20 percent of the students served by the LEA are from families 
with incomes below the poverty line. These entities include public 
school districts, and may also include charter schools, regional 
service agencies, and State-administered schools that are considered 
public school districts by their State educational agency. Grantees use 
this funding to update their school library media center collections, 
improve technology and Internet access for their school library media 
centers, extend the hours of their school library media centers, and 
provide professional development for school library media specialists.
    The LSL program has been in existence for four years. Over this 
four-year period, we have found that the most successful projects are 
similar in the following two ways: (1) They have provided a 
comprehensive array of services (such as extended library hours and 
professional development in addition to updated book collections and 
improved technology and internet access); and (2) they have had 
significant support from principals, teachers, and parents. Based on 
what we know to be successful practice, we sought to establish a 
priority that more closely links the proposed project to the school and 
district through alignment with a school or district improvement plan. 
We also intended this priority to encourage applicants to offer a 
comprehensive array of allowable program services.
    We published a notice of proposed priority for this program in the 
Federal Register on December 20, 2006 (71 FR 76280).
    There are no differences between the notice of proposed priority 
and this notice of final priority.

Public Comment

    In the notice of proposed priority, we invited comments on the 
proposed priority. Four of the only substantive comments we received 
suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the 
applicable statutory authority. Of the remaining two substantive 
comments, one commenter suggested encouraging individuals from local 
speaking and drama organizations to come to school libraries to read to 
children. An additional commenter, while supportive of the priority, 
asked for bonus points for districts that have applied and been 
unsuccessful in past competitions. Program officials decided that it 
would not be beneficial to the competition to incorporate these ideas 
at this time, and therefore no changes have been made to the priority.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting applications we 
designate the priority as absolute, competitive preference, or 
invitational. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority we give competitive preference to an application by either 
(1) Awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent 
to which the application meets the competitive priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the 
competitive priority over an application of comparable merit that 
does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over 
other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

    Priority: Under this priority, we give priority to projects that 
demonstrate in their grant applications that the proposed literacy 
project services are comprehensive and aligned with a school or 
district improvement plan. A school improvement plan may include the 
required two-year plan (under section 1116(b)(3) of the Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind 
Act of 2001) that addresses the academic issues that caused a school to 
be identified as in need of improvement. The plan could also include a 
voluntary plan developed by the school or district to improve academic 
achievement. The applicant must clearly describe the improvement plan 
that is in place, whether it is for the school or the entire district, 
the reasons why the plan was put in place, and how the proposed project 
and the operation of the school library media center will directly 
support the academic goals established in the improvement plan.

Executive Order 12866

    This notice of final priority has been reviewed in accordance with 
Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have assessed 
the potential costs and benefits of this regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with the notice of final priority 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as

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necessary for administering this program effectively and efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this notice of final priority, we have determined 
that the benefits of the final priority justify the costs.
    We have also determined that this regulatory action does not unduly 
interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of 
their governmental functions.
    We fully discussed the costs and benefits in the notice of proposed 

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive 
order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened 
federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State 
and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal 
financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 

    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.
    You may also view this document in text at the following site: 

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.364A Improving 
Literacy through School Libraries Program)

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 6383.

    Dated: February 13, 2007.
Raymond Simon,
Deputy Secretary of Education.
[FR Doc. E7-2822 Filed 2-15-07; 8:45 am]