The Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) was honored to be awarded the 2019 AASL Past-Presidents Planning Grant for National School Library Standards in honor of E. Blanche Woolls, sponsored by Roger and Susan D. Ballard. The award included $2,500 for VAASL to plan and execute an event, initiative, or activity focused on the implementation of the new AASL National School Library Standards. VAASL organized two events to assist school librarians across the state implement and dig deep into the National School Library Standards.
The first event was held in the western portion of the state on July 9 and was titled “Summer Standards Splash…Dive into the Deep End!” The full-day PD was held in a school library and was administered by Dr. Karla Collins, associate professor at Longwood University, and Judy Deichman, VAASL Professional Development Co-Chair. The professional development was free to all attendees and open to all.
We had a great turnout with everyone engaged and diving into the standards. The day was full of hands-on activities focused on the standards, and we worked individually, in pairs, in small groups, and as a whole group exchanging ideas, concepts, concerns, and new ways to implement the standards. The grant funding enabled us to provide every participant with an AASL Standards Framework poster. We are continuing the conversation with attendees through the VAASL Memberclicks portion of the website; that section of the website is public, so anyone can join the standards discussion with us.
The second event was a two-day institute at the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. The event was organized by VAASL PD Co-Chair Jeffrey DiScala, PhD, and the faculty at ODU, and the Include Shared Foundation from the AASL Standards came through in the theme of the institute: “Setting the Standard for Diversity and Inclusion.” The institute featured a series of speakers, a moderated panel, breakouts, and concurrent sessions. Attendees discussed inclusion through equity and diversity and how they can demonstrate these elements in their school libraries for their students.
A highlight of the institute was the keynote speaker Dr. Janice Underwood, who is the director of diversity initiatives at ODU. In an engaging and challenging keynote, Dr. Underwood focused on race and having difficult conversations in the school library. In an evaluation, one participant said, “[Dr. Underwood’s talk] was life changing. The aspects of the presentation really make you want to reevaluate how you think about racial issues.”
Also featured at the summer institute was a moderated panel of local and regional experts on diversity and inclusion, including leaders from school districts, the public library, and local government. Attendees had the opportunity to select from more than 20 concurrent sessions to attend over the two-day institute. Popular sessions featured topics such as podcasting, inclusive picture books, empowerment for girls, college readiness, new teacher resilience, tabletop gaming, a panel of first-year librarians, and much more.
Author: Judith Deichman