The 2016 ALA/AASL Election is quickly approaching. AASL is using this public forum as an opportunity to introduce the candidates running for office to all members. Each candidate was given the opportunity to respond to this question: If elected, what will you do to advance AASL’s new mission to empower leaders to transform teaching and learning? Read their responses and vote beginning March 15.
SPVS Chair-Elect Candidate
In my current position, as Director of Library Services for Metro Nashville Public Schools, I oversee 131 school librarians across our district. We have worked hard to build a community for them, as they are usually the only one in their building. However, as a supervisor of school librarians, I am the only one in my district that has my job and it can be a lonely place. In my eyes, that is where the AASL Supervisors section comes into play.
This past year, I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the Lilead Fellows program. This program has brought together twenty-five school library supervisors that have a goal to improve school libraries and librarians across the country. This program has provided me the support network that I need and feel so lucky to be a part of the community. However, there are many more supervisors that need this support. As chair-elect, my goal will be to build a larger community of supervisors where issues can find solutions, share resources and provide support to one another. As a section, we must have a common voice to not only support school librarians, but the AASL mission as well.
I am continually meeting supervisors from across the country that need the support that this section has can provide. The role of the school library supervisor is making a comeback and this section should be the first stop of support for not only new supervisors, but all supervisors. I look forward to building a community of collaborators, innovators and advocates within the AASL Supervisors section as chair-elect.
SPVS Representative to the AASL Board of Directors Candidates
In many districts across the U.S. school libraries are in a state of transition. Supervisors of school libraries are in a unique position to lead within their districts and collaboratively through the AASL SPVS Section, to ensure that all students in every school have access to library services and resources necessary to support success in a rapidly changing world. For Library Supervisors, solving the challenges facing libraries in transition requires not only a growth mindset, but also an innovative mindset. George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset, defines this as “the belief that abilities, intelligence and talents are developed so that they lead to new and better ideas.” Over the past year I have participated in the Lilead Fellows Program through the College of Information Studies, University of Maryland. The 18-month program is designed to empower, enable, and equip school district library supervisors to be effective and inspirational leaders for change. Through my Lilead work, I have adopted the innovators mindset to help solve common challenges facing school libraries. If elected as Representative to the AASL Board of the SPVS Section, I will serve as an active voice between the AASL Board and SPVS Section. I will bring an innovative mindset dedicated to connecting, learning, innovating, and sharing ideas to help solve challenges facing school libraries and work to raise visibility of library leaders who serve as effective models for change.
As the district-level school library supervisor for a large school district, I have the opportunity to see the whole gamut of what school library services may look like—the good, the bad, the growing, and the sublime. I partner with principals and other district leaders to develop solutions and services to better meet the educational needs of our nearly 60,000 students, including working to position school librarians as the crucial lynch pins of those solutions.
Unfortunately, many smaller school districts have little or no representation of librarianship among their leadership, making it hard for their librarians to get a seat at the table for that solutions work and decision making; and most school librarians working in those districts will never have the opportunity to advance into a position like mine, to be able to see and learn about all of the concerns that go into those decisions. If elected, I will use my experience and vantage to support all AASL members in working in a way that successfully aligns our vision of school librarianship with the overarching concerns and perspectives of other school leaders.
I believe strongly in AASL’s mission to empower leaders to transform teaching and learning, and I believe a key support in that work is rich alignment of school librarians’ practice to their schools’ missions, needs, values, and beliefs. Great school librarians know that what we do supports ALL students in ALL of their personalized paths to success–but if that is not also known by decision makers, librarians may be hindered in their efforts. If elected, I will work to build and communicate connections between AASL’s work and even wider perspectives, to help empower the gamut of librarians to better serve students in their schools.