During the holiday season, reviewing all of the things that I am grateful for has become a yearly tradition. In this unprecedented year, with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our lives in so many ways, taking stock of items to be thankful for feels even more important. I am so thankful for my family, friends, and colleagues. That goes without saying. However, this year, I have relied heavily on my professional organizations, especially AASL and my state school library association, MAME, to provide guidance and support. I am extremely grateful for the resources and assistance from these two excellent organizations.
AASL President, Kathy Carroll wrote a recent KQ blog post “Keeping Up to Date with AASL” in which she highlighted the channels of written communication from AASL (AASL Digest, AASL Friday Forecast, School Library SmartBrief, and AASL Connect). I am always finding great ideas to apply to my practice or to strengthen my advocacy in these publications and posts.
This year, the AASL Town Halls have been extremely helpful. These town halls make me feel like part of a community during this time when we all have to be separate. At each one of these town halls, I have discovered resources or ideas to strengthen my practice from amazing colleagues. Just a few examples include:
- The New York School Library System Translation of Practice Document
- Library Collaboration Menu shared by Christy James
- Library Reopening Plan & COVID Response shared by Allison Mackley
- The idea to add a live chat function to my library website based on a KQ blog post by Becca Munson
In addition, the latest town hall with the AASL School Leader Collaborative was especially inspiring and full of ideas for working with my administrators and strengthening my library.
Other resources provided by AASL that I am grateful for include:
- The School Librarian Role in Pandemic Learning Chart & Resources: http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/advocacy/SchoolLibrarianRolePandemic_Resources_Chart_200713.pdf
- The School Library Snapshot Surveys: http://www.ala.org/aasl/about/pandemic
- The AASL Learning Library: https://aasl.digitellinc.com/aasl/
- The Knowledge Quest website: https://knowledgequest.aasl.org/
Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME)
I am also grateful for my state school library association, MAME. Being able to stay connected with colleagues in my state has felt especially important during this time. MAME has held a few of its own town halls focusing on back to school and self-care. MAME has a very active listserv where Michigan school librarians can ask questions, get answers, and share ideas. MAME also shared curated “Learning at a Distance” resources to help navigate the myriad of free resources that were offered in the spring. (These lists have since been updated since most of the free offers have expired. Find them at http://www.mimame.org/learning-at-a-distance.html.)
MAME also continues to support advocacy for equitable access to school libraries and school librarians in our state. The advocacy committee publishes a periodic newsletter (https://www.smore.com/8r2c4-all-students-need-school-librarians), which it distributes to partners, educational organizations, and legislators.
Join Your Professional Organizations
MAME published “Five Good Reasons to Join MAME” as follows:
- Connections and Networking
- Professional Development
- Promotion and Support for Intellectual Freedom and Professional Standards
- Staying Current
These reasons apply also as reasons to join AASL or your state school library association. Being a part of these organizations is something that has inspired me and also challenged me to be a better person and a better librarian.
I am truly grateful for the leadership of the school library professional organizations across our nation. Thank you, AASL, MAME, and all of the state school library professional organizations!