Be a Joiner…Volunteer for AASL

A few weeks ago I was invited to be a part of the AASL Induction Task Force. I’m the kind of person who says, “Sure, I’ll do it…What is it?” I did read the information attached to the invite, but I wasn’t entirely clear on what was expected of me. Fast forward to my first Induction Task Force video chat, where despite not being able to get my mic working, I finally got to see the bigger picture of what I’ll be doing, and now I’m really excited about it. Together with some other awesome members of AASL, I have the privilege of building and creating content for the new AASL Induction Program, which offers those accepted into the program registration for the 2019 AASL National Conference, a $500 stipend, and the chance to build or refine their leadership abilities.

School librarians are often encouraged to seek out grants and awards to fund programs or purchase specific items. The Induction Program is a little different because recipients are asked to complete, over the course of two years, some modules designed to support and develop their leadership skills. It’s important to stress the modules are not meant to make participants feel overwhelmed or regret being a part of the program. Modules are meant to be professionally engaging, pertinent to real-world experiences, and maybe a little fun–especially if your idea of fun is making creative library displays or coming up with innovative lesson ideas.

Another aspect of the Induction Program requires applicants be a member volunteer with AASL. Maybe this seems daunting, but there are several different volunteer opportunities.

  • Volunteer to work on one of the many committees, task forces, advisory groups, or working groups active in AASL. For me the scariest part of volunteering is doing webcam meetings, and the best part is getting to see other school librarians and exchanging ideas.
  • Look for interesting opportunities listed on the AASL website. A while back I applied to work as a program reviewer for the 2017 AASL National Conference, which led to an invitation to review proposals for the IdeaLab. I really enjoyed reading the proposals and making professional and thoughtful evaluations on the submissions.
  • Are you a writer? Consider submitting to one of AASL’s many publications. Submit a manuscript to Knowledge Quest; apply to be a KQ blogger; or submit a scholarly article to School Library Research.
  • Submit a proposal for online learning or a publication. Do you have an idea or a special skill helpful to the school librarian field? Maybe others in the field would like to learn how you do it.

You can poke around a little to find your comfort zone before you start pushing yourself in new directions, or maybe you’d rather jump in the deep end and get started anywhere you can. Either way, I encourage everyone to get plugged in to AASL on some kind of volunteer platform, and/or apply for the Induction Program. 

Author: Mica Johnson

I’m a school librarian at Farragut Middle. I like the lib to be loud, messy, and full of student activity. I love tech stuff as much as I love books, and I’m part of an awesome rotating maker space.



Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Professional Development

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