We want to start by saying that it is a wonderful honor to have been named Chapter of the Year for AASL. As a chapter, our goal is to empower our school librarian community. Our mission statement reads, “The Maryland Association of School Librarians connects, engages, and celebrates the school library community by providing opportunities for leadership development, growth, innovation, and advocacy.” Additionally, our vision is much the same as AASL’s: “A robust school library program and a certified school librarian for every child.” Check out our latest strategic plan here.
Our organization has undergone an enormous transformation over the past 5 years. We started hosting virtual meetings so that we could get involvement from every part of our state and not just involvement from those within driving distance of meetings. That was our first powerful shift in practice. It allowed us to become a more inclusive organization of school librarians and actively value the membership of all Maryland librarians. We worked really hard to transform our website into something we could be proud to call our own. We revised payment systems and communications to our members.
MASL is very proud of the monthly newsletter that is produced by our communication committee–it has even garnered praise from retired Maryland school librarians living in South Carolina, Florida, and Arizona! In addition to our newsletter, MASL has developed a robust online presence on social media. Our social media rock stars engage on multiple platforms to keep our members apprised of events and celebrations. One such celebration that we began is recognizing and celebrating the Maryland Monthly Amazing School Librarian (MMASL). This allows us to showcase the great work happening across our state and across all the districts.
Our application also highlighted our advocacy committee. They are tireless. Our advocacy committee meets monthly and stays abreast of developments in the state and surrounding states in order to advocate for school libraries and school library positions. They are currently working with the Maryland Library Association to have April officially declared School Library Month by the state of Maryland. Not only do they advocate, but they educate. The advocacy committee sponsors professional development several times a year, including an advocacy boot camp presented by the American Library Association.
The Maryland Association of School Librarians also has many members working closely with AASL. Members of MASL served in the following roles (and more) in the past two years:
- Member of Chapter of the Year Award Committee
- Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Award Committee
- Member of the Roald Dahl Miss Honey Social Justice Award Committee
- Chair of the task force for the Instructional Role of the School Librarian
- Member of the task force for the Instructional Role of the School Librarian
- Co-chair of the AASL Conference Programming Committee
- Chair of the Supervisors Section of AASL
- Member of ALA Council
- Member of AASL Practice Committee
Finally, MASL is a believer in offering professional development to its members free of charge as one of the benefits of being a MASL member. Over the past 18 months, we offered a book study on Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi, workshops on diversity and equity, webinars on inclusion and diversity, a standards book study, a book study with Maximizing School Librarian Leadership, and finally our favorite: Talk About It Tuesday. This started when the pandemic started and continued from March until summer of 2021. Talk About It Tuesday started out as a weekly virtual meeting for librarians in Maryland. It was a great way for us to connect and find our balance as well as gain ideas and inspiration from each other. When the 2020-2021 school year began, we continued to meet monthly for Talk About It Tuesday.
We hope to continue to grow and learn from each other and contribute to AASL for many years to come. Again, our sincere thank you to the committee and to AASL for sponsoring this award. We are thrilled and very proud of our hard work and dedication to school libraries and school librarians.