Discover How School Librarians Are Transforming Practice during the Pandemic in May/June 2021 Issue

Pivoting and flexibility have become critical to teaching and learning during the last year. The ever-changing nature of the pandemic has kept educators on their toes and ultimately upended the education system around the world, forcing districts, schools, teachers, and students into remote and blended learning encompassing virtual platforms, digital tools, innovation, and lots and lots of patience. 

Ironically, in the school library world, the pivots and sharp turns have had a positive impact. The switch to remote learning and need for instructional support have opened up countless opportunities for school librarians to step up as instructional leaders, provide guidance to digital immigrants, and help students meet their learning standards. 

In our feature article, “Transforming Practice: School Library Success Stories in Challenging Times,” we explore how the NYC School Library System guided librarians during this challenging year with the “Translation of Practice” document, city-wide partnerships, robust online workshops, out-of-the-box thinking, and programming opportunities for librarians to support their diverse school communities. 

Then, in “Reading the Room,” librarian Suzanne Sannwald discusses how to read the audience in the “room” and meet the underlying needs of a community. 

In “The Transformation of a School Library,” Christopher A. Stewart describes how he uses the power of virtual and outside opportunities to empower his students to have hope in the future by making their voices heard and grounding their learning in historical truths about race, ethnicity, and representation. 

Kerrie Burch and Susan LeBlanc describe how school library systems support school librarians across New York state with workshops, grants, services, and networking opportunities in “Elevating the Profession and Practice through School Library Systems.”

Finally, in “Creating a Space for Virtually Anyone,” Karina Quilantan-Garza explains how she is using digital technologies to personalize curated resources for students and teachers, work with Student Ambassadors to promote library programming, collaborate with teachers on classroom projects, and use Instagram to post book recommendations, student work, and community information.

[Editor’s Note: To hear more about how school librarians adapted their practice during the pandemic, check out American Libraries’ Call Number Podcast “School Librarians Adapt to the Pandemic.”]

About the Content Experts

Melissa Jacobs is the director of library services at the New York City School Library System. She is an executive board member of the METRO Metropolitan New York Library Association. She serves as a member of the New York Library Association Pathways to Librarianship Task Force. She is a member of AASL and is serving on the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation. She authored the November 2020 School Library Connection article “Making Curricular Connections with Book Awards,” the November 2020 CSA News article “The Librarian Is In,” and the June 2020 Booklist article “School Librarians Leading through Crisis.” She is a board member of Reading with Pictures.

Leanne Ellis is the school library coordinator for the New York City School Library System. She also manages the Destiny Library Catalog and the MyLibraryNYC Project with the three public library systems and delivers extensive professional development. She is a member of AASL and serves on the Knowledge Quest Editorial Board and is a blogger for the Knowledge Quest website.

Knowledge Quest, Volume 49, No. 5 – Transforming Practice: School Library Success Stories in Challenging Times


Transforming Practice: School Library Success Stories in Challenging Times
Leanne Ellis and Melissa Jacobs

Pandemic Lessons Learned Articles

Reading the Room: Sustaining Our Libraries by Identifying and Responding to the Needs of Our Communities
Suzanne Sannwald

The Transformation of a School Library
Christopher A. Stewart

Elevating the Profession and Practice through School Library Systems
Kerry Burch and Susan LeBlanc

Creating a Space for Virtually Anyone
Karina Quilantan-Garza


President’s Column
Lessons from the COVID Chronicles
Kathy Carroll

KQ Editorial Board Liaison Column
The Lessons We’re Still Learning
Barbara Gabaldon


AASL Position Statement
Position Statement on Labeling Practices

AASL Position Statement
The Critical Need for and Responsibilities of District-Level School Library Supervisors

Research into Practice Column
Establishing Reflective Practice in Preservice Coursework
Elizabeth Burns

CBC Column
Connecting with Young Learners during the Pandemic (and a Thank You to School Librarians)
Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Author: Melissa Jacobs and Leanne Ellis

Categories: KQ Content

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