Although the theme for the 2017 ALA Midwinter was “The conversation starts here,” for the AASL Board of Directors, the conversation continued at MW in Atlanta. Meeting on Saturday morning, January 21, and Sunday afternoon, January 22, Board members built on work begun in Orlando at ALA Annual in June and further addressed via conference call meetings in the fall. The dedication and attention that these individuals demonstrate to the work of the association is absolutely amazing, and I thank each of them for their service.
Action items approved by the Board included the following:
- Placement of a Bylaws amendment on the 2017 ballot to remove a Member‐at‐Large position on the Board of Directors and add a position designated for a one-year term for the Affiliate Assembly Chair. If this Bylaws amendment is approved, we will once again have a direct line of communication between the BOD and Affiliate Assembly, something that has been missing since 2013 when the Board was restructured, eliminating Regional Director-Elect positions.
- Creation of a School and Public Library Cooperation Task Force to develop a statement of best practice or position statement on school/public library cooperation while maintaining independent programs and facilities. The Task Force will submit completed work to the Board of Directors by April 2017.
Key items of discussion included the following:
- A Get out the Vote initiative for the 2017 ALA and AASL elections. Did you know that only 875 AASL members voted in the 2016 elections? In 2016, 13.9% of AASL members cast votes; 20% of YALSA members; 25.2% of ALSC; 23.6% of PLA; 26.7% of ACRL. The 2017 election opens on March 13 and ends on April 5. We need to get out and vote for school libraries!
- The timeline for selection of AASL’s very first Social Media Superstars! As one of the outgrowths of immediate past-president Leslie Preddy’s presidential initiative, we will recognize our own in the following categories: “Sensational Student Voice,” “Advocacy Ambassador,” “Tech Troubadour,” “Program Pioneer,” “Leadership Luminary,” “Curriculum Champion,” and “Social Justice Defender.” Be on the lookout for a call for nominations! Winners will be announced during School Library Month and recognized at Annual conference.
- Advocacy and Legislation Coalition. To strengthen and consolidate its advocacy and legislation efforts, AASL hosts calls at noon CT on the second Wednesday of every month. Topics addressed include updates from the ALA Washington Office and the ALA Office for Library Advocacy, current advocacy and legislative efforts from AASL, and items submitted by state participants. Calls are recorded so, if you’re not able to join in, you can listen at a later time at the link above.
- Ongoing work of the association including (but not limited to!) ESSA workshops offered through state affiliates; resources created by the Vision for Implementing ESSA Task Force such as this list of key terms used in ESSA; our 65th anniversary giving campaign which celebrates AASL’s 65 years of service and looks to ensure the future of the school library profession; work of the Induction Task Force whose initiatives will launch at the 2017 AASL National Conference & Exhibition in Phoenix, AZ; work of the K-12 Regional Accrediting Agency Task Force which arose from an Affliate Assembly Concern; and work on the school/public library collaboration toolkit by the Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation (AASL/ALSC/YALSA)
To become better informed of initiatives within the larger ALA, Board members heard updates from Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director of the ALA Washington Office; Jody Gray, Director of the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services; and Jamie LaRue, Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom.
Board members also received updates concerning:
- CLASS II, Causality: School Libraries and Student Success. Three research teams are currently in place working on the first of three long-term research phases.
- “Beyond the Horizon,” the 2017 National Conference and Exhibition in Phoenix, AZ. The National Conference committee, led by co-chairs Cathy Evans and Mary Ann Scheuer, have an amazing time planned for us!
- The new learning standards and program guidelines which will officially launch in Phoenix in November 2017
- Plans for implementation of the new standards and guidelines
- ALA President Julie Todaro’s Presidential Initiative School Library Group
Between now and ALA Annual in Chicago in June, Board members will be working to finalize the June 2017-June 2019 operational plan to support AASL’s Strategic Plan. Looking ahead, put Sunday, June 4, 2017 on your calendar—4:00 PM PT/5:00 PM MT/6:00 PM CT/7:00 PM ET—for AASL’s Annual Virtual Membership meeting. Plan now to attend for a complete update on AASL’s activities for the year. The conversation continues!
Read other ALA Midwinter 2017 reports from AASL’s For the Record:
- AASL President-Elect
- AASL Treasurer
- AASL Representative to ALA Council
- AASL Affiliate Assembly Chair