As the ALA/AASL spring election season approaches, AASL is using this public forum as a venue to introduce our 2018 slate for the AASL ballot. Each candidate was given the opportunity to respond to this question: “What is the biggest/most important change that AASL could make in the next 3 years?”
Read the candidates’ responses over the next few days. Be informed. Be involved. Your voice and your vote make a difference. As the election opens on March 12, be ready to cast your vote. It is important for all AASL members to exercise the right to vote in ALA’s spring election process.
The candidates for ESLS Secretary are:
- Meghan Harper
- Kym Kramer
Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates.
I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for Secretary of the Educators of School Librarians Section (ESLS). The ESLS section of AASL empowers educators of school librarians to exchange ideas, discuss curricula, and share and facilitate research that informs the practice of school librarianship. This is essential to creating future school library leaders focused on advocacy and transforming teaching and learning.
AASL has provided excellent resources for current school librarians to address timely issues and trends in the field. AASL should continue its good work by continuing to be at the forefront of educational reform that enables school librarians to meet the shifting tide from classroom-based learning to more experiential, hands-on learning. My recent research on trauma-informed libraries supports the critical role of certified school librarians in addressing the needs of the whole child. AASL can build strong connections with state-wide professional organizations to create opportunities for dialogue and resource sharing to support school librarians advocating for change. AASL can lead, collaborate and engage with school librarians in the field and educators of school librarians to prepare school librarians to meet these future challenges and implement the new AASL Standards.
AASL needs to create a plan to establish more opportunities for seeking new members and engaging existing members. AASL should create more robust connections and active collaborations with ESLS to ensure preservice school librarians are able to experience the benefits of AASL and the organization remains relevant to their practical work in the field.
If elected to this position, I will strive as secretary to increase communication and promote opportunities for dialogue and community building among AASL members and ESLS members.
Having been a professional educator for 29 years, I can attest to the fact that we are living in a different educational landscape than we were three decades ago. While changes are to be expected, the rapidity and breadth of these innovations require our school librarians to lead their schools in negotiating and navigating the new terrain.
Equipping PK-12 youth with the ability to question and the confidence and courage to do so is essential. Such work cannot be left to “elite” schools or those that have unique curricular foci. Preparing every PK-12 student to critically analyze information in all forms – textual, visual, audio, or mixed media – is of utmost importance. School librarians must start the conversations with their administrators to put these topics on the radar. They must bring innovations to their teachers that challenge the testing culture. They must provide evidence to the parents that changes are required, and they must engage their students with cutting-edge teaching.
As AASL looks toward future work, it is our job to equip school library educators and school librarians to communicate with state decision makers about the new information and technological terrain. We must support library professionals to question the difference between states that value and legislate for required certified school library staffing, and those that continue to allow these professional roles to deteriorate or disappear. This builds from our current AASL mission, while expanding and intensifying our level of influence. Developing and enacting tools that allow every school librarian to feel confident and empowered to move forward in action is an essential goal for AASL.
Author: Audrey Church, Leadership Development Committee Chair and 2017-2018 AASL Past President