Think of it: the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has more than 7,000 members. At 7,000+ strong, AASL is the third largest division in the American Library Association (ALA). This is significant because:
- We are a mighty force for learners;
- Each of us brings different talents, perspectives, and experiences; and
- There are countless ways to engage as a member.
At her inauguration at ALA Annual in Washington, DC, Wanda K. Brown, the 2019–2020 ALA President, asked ALA members to “find your ALA.” She noted that each story of member involvement in ALA inspires another member to find their place in the organization. Our stories empower each other.
How can you find your AASL? Consider whether you are a customer of AASL and/or a member of its volunteer workforce. If you are a customer, we are thrilled that you find AASL’s products useful! How has using AASL’s products and services—the AASL website, the KQ website, the National School Library Standards and their supporting documentation at http://standards.aasl.org, eCOLLAB’s repository of webinars and sessions recordings and KQ, Knowledge Quest, awards, toolkits, conferences—helped you grow as a professional? How do you work and think differently because you have attended a conference or a webinar or read Knowledge Quest? If you are a volunteer, you are helping your profession create value for other school librarians. Most volunteers say that their experiences help them grow professionally. How has volunteering shaped you as a professional school librarian? Your story can encourage another school librarian to step up and join AASL. Because each of us brings something different, each member can shape the AASL experience for themselves and others. Consider how you can engage and find your AASL.
As we launch a new year in AASL, we are also introducing a new strategic plan that continues our mission to “empower leaders to transform teaching and learning.” Our goals are to build capacity for leadership at all levels; to influence local, state, and national policy to ensure well-funded and fully staffed school libraries; and to advance research that informs school library practice.
This year, we have formed three new committees, and one of them could be the perfect place to contribute your talent! The AASL Legacy Committee will promote individual gift giving to AASL through regular personal contact with members and donors. If you have a gift for gratitude, this could be a perfect opportunity for you to express thanks to people whose financial contributions fund AASL awards and other endeavors. The AASL Member Engagement Committee will reach out to potential members at face-to-face events and focus on personal contact with new and renewing members. If you are the person at a party who makes sure everyone knows they are welcomed and included, this could be a perfect match for your gift of hospitality. The AASL Professional Learning Committee is responsible for the content organization, development, and marketing of AASL’s online digital professional development. During its first year, it will evaluate and organize existing content, weed out-of-date material, and suggest how individual properties can be packaged by theme or interest. This project would be great fun for those with a gift for organization, curation, and promotion of resources.
Welcome to the 2019-2020 AASL year! Let this be the year in which you find your AASL.