Imagine the Possible Future of School Libraries in the Mar/Apr Issue

This issue is about the Future of School Libraries, yet, we cannot claim to know the future. So, editing this issue has been an interesting journey to imagine the possible and stretch ideas of the futurist mindset with some inspiring doers and thinkers. An active futurist mindset stimulates our brains to consider possibility and opportunity rather than obstacles. Thanks go out to the authors who joined me on the journey.

I was inspired by Mark Ray’s TEDxElCajon talk. Mark reminded me that, as Simone Sinek noted in a previous TED talk, “People don’t buy what you do…they buy why you do it.” I like the idea that we do it for every individual kid. I invite you to get into the spirit of Mark’s thinking.

Craig Johnson, the superintendent of the very forward-thinking American School of Bombay, and his team describe the decentralized iCommons concept that keeps his K-12 international school on the cutting edge. Every so often I check out what Craig is up to. He and his staff are a font of inspiration.

I began reading Library of the Future — Read for Later blog curated by Miguel Figueroa, the director of ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries, as soon as it was launched. Miguel taught me how to think like a futurist. I encourage you read his take on the futurist mindset.

Lee Watanabe Crockett, author of Literacy Is Not Enough, focused my thinking on teaching processes to embed 21st-century skills across content areas. Now I’m moving into the future by teaching the processes to teachers so every student is touched by them.

Every day, I am inspired by the teachers I work with. Kristal Jaaskelainen and Musetta Deneen are dedicated to the students that our schools often discard as troublemakers. They have come to value collaboration with their school librarian in a way that reminds us every student can learn and has value, and that our work is urgently important to each student.

Speaking of inspiration, Mary Keeling, director of Libraries in Newport News, VA, takes us on a tour through the new AASL Standards from the point of view of burgeoning urban schools. She frames the work of school librarians in terms of cultural competence and culturally relevant instruction. An expansive and respectful view of those we are charged to educate is integral to successful schools of the future.

We know from experience that school libraries work! Marcia Mardis, Sue Kimmel, and Laura Pasquini are adding important new data to support the idea that students thrive when they have access to qualified school librarians and school library programs. They detail their study of causality that is aimed at establishing the foundation for comparison and groundwork for causal research. Keep an eye out for the reports on the group’s work.

Yes, the future is now. We live in the crucial moment of choice–do we maintain our well-trodden paths, or do we expand to recognize what students need from their education for their future? This is a choice between irrelevancy and leadership. We, the thinkers and the doers represented in this issue, challenge you to embrace leadership and invent the future. Enjoy this good read.

About the Guest Editor

AASL member Sara Duvall is chair of the 6-12 Library Program Department, Ann Arbor (MI) Public Schools, and is an enthusiastic supporter of ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries. In 2011 she and two colleagues (Peter Pasque and Kristal Jaaskelainen) won the Gale/Cengage TEAMS Award for an ongoing collaborative project to integrate Google Tools into instruction and learning at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor. She blogs at

Read her Guest Editor Column, “The Future of School Libraries.”


Why Do We Need Future Ready Librarians? That Kid.
Mark Ray

Futuring for Future Ready Librarians
Miguel A. Figueroa

Building of Causality: A Future for School Librarianship Research and Practice
Marcia A. Mardis, Sue C. Kimmel, and Laura A. Pasquini

Librarians Lead the Growth of Information Literacy and Global Digital Citizens
Lee Watanabe Crockett

Framing an Urban School Library with the National School Library Standards
Mary Keeling

iCommons: A Future-Focused International School in Mumbai, India
Craig Johnson, Arun Subbian, Heeru Bhojwani, and Rachel Bishop

School Librarian, Teacher Collaborator, and Independent Learner: A Symbiosis for Equitable Education in an Alternative High School
Kristal Jaaskelainen and Musetta Deneen


School Librarian as Inquisitor of Practice: Reimagine, Reflect, and React with the New Standards
Elizabeth Burns

School Libraries Addressing the Needs of ELL Students: Enhancing Language Acquisition, Confidence, and Cultural Fluency in ELL Students by Developing a Targeted Collection and Enriching Your Makerspace
Peggy Henderson Murphy

Problem Scoping Design Thinking and Close Reading: Makerspaces in the School Library
Megan Blakemore


CBC Column
Reading to Dogs–How a Loyal Listener Can Help
Lisa Papp


President’s Column
Relevance Is Always in Style
Steven Yates

Guest Editor Column
The Future of School Libraries
Sara Duvall

Author: Sara Duvall

Categories: KQ Content

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