LEAD OUT LOUD: Access Defended in the May/June 2022 Issue of Knowledge Quest

School librarians and information professionals unconditionally endorse the power of voice. We personify speaking up, advocating, and sharing our truths.   Ensuring our communities are seen and represented is our mission.  We are teaching and learning through our school libraries to make connections through our outreach, programs, and collection development.   

It is our collections that have been recently under fire.  As we expand, change, shift, transform, diversify, and grow, there are opponents who object to what is different. They are gathering allies and picking up momentum in their charge to challenge and remove books.  

School libraries are being challenged. Books are being challenged. Authors are being challenged. School boards are being challenged.  School librarians are being challenged.  Giving in might be easy, but that is not who we are or what we are about.  Our communities, our schools, and our learners deserve better.  We are committed to intellectual freedom for all and will continue to defend access.

This issue will give you perspectives, protocols, procedures, politics, and first hand experiences related to responding to challenges.  Shoring up things in your school library?   AASL President Jennisen Lucas endorses the resources available from ALA related to selection and reconsideration and encourages us all to persevere with the support of our professional community.  School librarians Juan Rivera, Lindsay Cesari, and Mitzi Mack share their insights about strides and roadblocks in their management of challenges in their school communities.  High school student Josh Spilka shares his powerful research on the impact of censorship on democracy. Student perspective is key and Josh’s view offers that. 

Through the eyes of author Ashley Hope Perez, see how she and other authors stand on the power of free speech and physical access to books. 

Contributors Heidi Barber, Melissa Lewis Craft, and Anne Barnhart provide us with resources for high impact STEM instruction and information literacy through powerful collaboration.  David Robinson, director of School Library Media Master’s program at Towson University,  shares research study data about the correlation between pre-service experience and school librarian effectiveness.  Lois Wickstrom highlights the gap in access to independent books for curious minds related to  the decline in the books being reviewed, promoted, and purchased.

Together, we will continue to stand for access. Our kids deserve it.  

About the Content Expert

Sue Kowalski

Sue Kowalski

Sue Kowalski is a middle school librarian at East Syracuse Minoa Central School District in East Syracuse, NY. She is a past winner of the National School Library Program of the Year (AASL), I Love My Librarian Award (Carnegie/ALA), iSchool Alumni Impact Award (Syracuse University), Super Librarian Award (Central New York School Librarians), and Teacher Librarian Journal Leadership Award, and has been named a Library Journal “Mover and Shaker.” Sue is passionate about the role of strategic leadership and the impact that has on strong school libraries. She is actively involved in the New York Library Association and its Section of School Librarians, Onondaga Cortland Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Northern Onondaga Public Library Board of Trustees, New York State Board of Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, and AASL in varying capacities. Amplifying student voice is always her focus, and she works to do that through the iStaff library service program for school students, and multiple channels in and through the school library. She shares the power of how school libraries connect to the school community and beyond, and continues to grow those collaborative partnerships. Sue believes school librarians must #LEADOUTLOUD (bullhorn optional). Conversations happening on Twitter @spkowalski.

Feature

Joining Forces to Amplify Voice
Sue Kowalski

Supporting Articles

Approaching the Storm: Using the Shared Foundations to Grow in the Face of Book Challenges and Attacks on Intellectual Freedom
Juan Rivera

Straddling Parallel Tracks Diversifying Novels in the ELA Curriculum while Facing Book Challenges about Diverse Texts
Lindsay Cesari

377 Book Challenges Tracked by ALA in 2019—and the Problem is Growing Book Banning and Its Adverse Effects on Students
Joshua Spilka

Defeating the Censor Within: How to Hold Your Stand for Youth Access to Literature in the Face of School Book Bans
Ashley Hope Pérez

Access: Why we defend this core value
Mitzi Mack

Articles

Harnessing the Power of STEM Education
Heidi Barber

LibraryDen: A Tool for Learning about Research and Information Literacy Pedagogy
Melanie Lewis Croft and Anne C. Barnhart

Columns

Research into Practice Column
School Library Instruction: Does Experience Matter?
David Robinson

CBC Column
Covid Kills Books, Too
Lois Wickstrom

Departments

President’s Column
Balancing Beautiful Collections
Jennisen Lucas

KQ Editorial Board Liaison Column
The Issue of Access: Looking Back, Stepping Up, and Moving Forward
Barbara Gabaldón

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Author: Sue Kowalski

Sue Kowalski is a middle school librarian at East Syracuse Minoa Central School District in East Syracuse, NY. She is a past winner of the National School Library Program of the Year (AASL), I Love My Librarian Award (Carnegie/ALA), iSchool Alumni Impact Award (Syracuse University), Super Librarian Award (Central New York School Librarians), and Teacher Librarian Journal Leadership Award, and has been named a Library Journal “Mover and Shaker.” Sue is passionate about the role of strategic leadership and the impact that has on strong school library programs. She is actively involved in the New York Library Association and its Section of School Librarians, Onondaga Cortland Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Northern Onondaga Public Library Board of Trustees, New York State Board of Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, and AASL in varying capacities. Amplifying student voice is always her focus, and she works to do that through the iStaff library service program for school students, and multiple channels in and through the library. She shares the power of how school libraries connect to the school community and beyond, and continues to grow those collaborative partnerships. Sue believes librarians must #LEADOUTLOUD (bullhorn optional). Conversations happening on Twitter @spkowalski.



Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Collection Development, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Intellectual Freedom, KQ Content

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