For the Record | AASL President’s Report – ALA Annual 2019

The 2018-2019 AASL Board of Directors maintained an extremely busy schedule at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., this past June. Along with board meetings on Friday, Saturday, and  Monday, we celebrated AASL’s award and grant winners on Saturday evening in a new and very well attended Awards Ceremony. Matt de la Peña shared his powerful message to a large group of librarians on Saturday morning during the AASL President’s Program. Year after year the ALA Annual Conference brings participants great and thoughtful programming, exciting meetings, and, most of all, fun and collegial learning!

AASL’s Board of Directors reviewed approximately 300 pages of board documents, including reports from the hard-working, focused ALA Policy Corps and the 2019 ALA/AASL CAEP Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians. The alignment of school librarian preparation to the National School Library Standards is of great importance as schools look for learner-ready school librarians who can transform learning and teaching. The board also examined reports from me and 2019–2020 AASL President Mary Keeling about our respective presidential initiatives.

The board reviewed a huge number of amazing committee, editorial board, and task force reports. Member volunteers are vital to our association and shape its work to impact the work of school librarians. I want to thank all of the hard-working groups that make a huge difference for school librarians across the country. If you are interested in volunteering and contributing to AASL’s work, please fill out the Get Involved form.

The board also approved a new strategic plan. You can review the plan on the AASL website. The plan builds on AASL’s existing work and current mission statement: The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning. It promotes a central vision: Every school librarian is a leader; every learner has a school librarian. The plan champions the core values of the association: Learning * Innovation * Equity Diversity Inclusion * Intellectual Freedom * Collaboration. The goals of the plan are focused on three areas:  Leadership Activation, Education Policy, and Research. The work of the association will align with this new strategic plan as we move forward.

We approved AASL’s FY20 budget. This budget reflects intense and creative thinking about how to maximize the resources we have to align with the AASL Strategic Plan and ensure association growth and maintenance for years to some. Some of the cost-saving changes include:

  • Moving copyediting for Knowledge Quest to AASL staff
  • Maximizing the use of Zoom for committee and board meetings
  • Defunding a vacant staff position
  • Drastically reducing travel
  • Amortizing an opportunity to purchase multi-year quantities of promotional items

This new group will provide opportunities for more dialogue with vendors, as well as an avenue to develop mutually beneficial endeavors. The board also approved a new Legacy Committee that will acknowledge donors who give to the Friends of AASL and other fundraising initiatives.

Over the past year several task forces worked diligently to align AASL position statements with the National School Library Standards. The board approved revisions to the following AASL position statements:

The 2018–2019 AASL Board approved the following policies to ensure efficiency and effectiveness within the association:

We reviewed a report from the 2019 AASL National Conference Committee. Speaking of the 2019 AASL National Conference, I hope to see you there! There is a great lineup of general session speakers. Author Ellen Oh, co-founder, president, and CEO of We Need Diverse Books, will kick off the conference on Thursday. School educator, author, research-scientist, businessman, and keynote speaker Dr. Adolph Brown, III, will bring a most engaging and unique presentation about equity and diversity to the stage on Friday. New York Times bestselling author, two-time winner of the Children’s Choice Book Award for the Third to Fourth Grade Book, and Eisner Award nominee Jarrett J. Krosoczka will be the Saturday General Session speaker. I hope you will join me to hear all of this and more in Louisville, KY, November 14-16. Registration is open!

The year has gone by in the blink of an eye! I have been honored to collaborate virtually and face-to-face with thousands of school librarian volunteers across the country; brilliant, gracious, sensitive, thoughtful people who care passionately about the art and science of school librarianship and the learners they serve. These incredible member leaders are the association. You make the difference! You are AASL! Let’s move to transform teaching and learning and ensure our vision: Every school librarian is a leader; every learner has a school librarian!

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