ALA/AASL Election – At-Large Member

AASL_GOTV_KQ-MeetTheCandidatesThe 2015 ALA/AASL Election is quickly approaching. As many were not able to attend the AASL Candidates Forum at Midwinter, we wanted to use this public forum as an opportunity to introduce the candidates running for AASL offices. 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 24.

April Dawkins, At-Large Member
Melissa Jacobs Israel, At-Large Member

Today we hear from:

April Dawkins, At-Large Member

If elected as member-at-large to the Board of Directors of AASL, I will use my unique position as member-at-large to support the new AASL mission to empower leaders to transform teaching and learning. My background has provided me the opportunity to speak from the perspective of several groups within the organization. I have been a practicing high school librarian for fifteen years; I have served as a state association president and representative to the Affiliate Assembly; and I am currently a student pursuing a doctorate in library and information science with a focus on school libraries. These three experiences afford me the perspective to represent state associations, practicing school librarians, and students. All three groups are essential if we are to carry out our mission to change teaching and learning in the future.

Essential to accomplishing our mission, we must carry forward the new strategic plan which includes a focus upon providing a voice for the profession, improving the relationships with Affiliate Assembly and the wider ALA community, and improving our own internal leadership. One specific area of focus that I wish to provide as member-at-large is to improve the retention of student members of AASL as they enter the profession. Many student members drop their membership when they become practicing school librarians. I feel it is essential that we, as an organization, provide opportunities for students to become leaders in our organization so that their needs are being met, and so they will realize the benefits of belonging to AASL. I hope to work closely with the Educators of School Librarians Section to develop a plan to more actively engage our student members in the association as these students are our future leaders.

Thank you and please take the time to vote during the election!

Melissa Jacobs Israel, At-Large Member
School libraries are at a crossroads with one path eyeing the sunset of our profession and one leading to the dawn of a new era. We need to choose carefully and take the road empowering librarians by providing opportunities for leadership, growth, and collaboration.

Leaders are cultivated from mentoring, modeling, lifelong learning, and opportunities. As the AASL Member-at-Large, my personal charge will be to share, recruit, and encourage leaders from within the organization, as well as from outside AASL. Sharing resources of AASL, such as Best Websites and Best Apps for Teaching and Learning beyond the walls of school libraries helps to enrich the educational arena of all students by building an understanding of the professional skill sets librarians have to curate high-quality, reliable resources to support instructional tasks.

As the Coordinator of Library Services in the NYC Department of Education, I have worked with teachers that inadvertently end up in pedagogical positions assigned to the library. Oftentimes, these individuals do not have their library license. I have dedicated time to nurturing many of these individuals to pursue professional degrees in librarianship, modeling best practices, and encouraging participation in professional organizations, conferences and workshops. As Member-at-Large, I hope to have the chance to bring my experiences to Executive Board and develop opportunities for individuals to join and grow with AASL.

We need to preach outside the walls of our profession and dedicate time to helping the world of education understand the value of school librarians. In addition, AASL needs to grow leaders within our organization by encouraging new committees, innovative thinking, and provide opportunities for professional growth and development. All educators need to make strides leading to the advancement of school libraries and remember why we chose to work in education…the success of students.

Author: Susi Grissom



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