By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The former head of the Pratt Library had gained national attention long before she was asked to be the Librarian of Congress.

Now, she’s being asked to share her thoughts on a whole range of issues affecting libraries nationwide, including a man who is trying to make libraries stronger.

Just why did an energetic librarian attract the attention of the former head of the Pratt Library, now the Librarian of Congress?

200 days a year, John Schumacher is a deliveryman. Not delivering things, but ideas.

“My job is to tell principals, teachers, librarians, superintendents, and parents about the power of letting kids read the books that they want to read,” said Schumacher.

Schumacher has been called a rock star librarian.

He was called that by former Pratt librarian and now Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

“His work is so important because he’s giving inspiration to school librarians,” said Hayden. “It’s not an oxymoron; a rock star librarian.”

He travels the country for the book seller Scholastic, getting school systems to believe in the power of the library.

It’s a battle, as some 39 percent of schools nationwide don’t have librarians.

“Many schools are under severe fiscal challenges,” said Schumacher. “And they have to make hard decisions.”

But they are decisions this teacher turned librarian, turned showman hopes will start to come down on the side of the kids.

“By putting a book into the hands of a child, we can put love directly into that child’s hand and we can show them, ‘Look, you have the power to make this world better,'” Schumacher said.

This librarian, known as Mr. Schu, writes a blog and produces videos. They are available at the scholastic books web site.

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