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 the President-Elect are:
- Mary Keeling
- Judi Moreillon
Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates.
In 2014, AASL established goals and objectives for association relevance, membership development, and governance and leadership. A focus on the member experience yielded impressive results. We can do more.
As we continue to focus on member needs, the most important change AASL can make in the coming years is to grow the membership. We need to become intentional about recruiting for and celebrating diversity in our members and leaders. And, we need to intensify our efforts to make it easy and fun for members to participate.
We build inclusive collections; let’s create an inclusive organization. What strategies can we use to welcome school librarians of all ethnic, racial, and cultural groups into AASL? How can we use AASL’s programming and publications to demonstrate cultural sensitivity and foster cultural awareness? What kinds of spaces will include and invite all school librarians to engage in the profession? Let’s explore how AASL can personify inclusiveness and equity. Including more voices and perspectives will enrich and strengthen our association and equip each of us to empathize with individuals and groups in our learning communities.
School librarians are busy, yet they always find time to do more! How can we engage more of them in the work of the association? AASL has many opportunities for members to participate. The “Get Involved” form makes it easy for potential volunteers to learn about them. I wonder if this page could become more visual, more invitational, more personal? How can we celebrate individual contributions? How can we mobilize members for short projects that will energize their professional practice and lead to a deeper interest in the organization? I look forward to working with AASL staff and the Board to create an inclusive and invitational organization.
In order to support school librarians as they work to transform teaching and learning, AASL must strengthen its partnerships with other educational organizations and initiatives. As ALA President Jim Neal proclaimed, “The American Library Association (ALA) must build expanded, more robust, and sustained conversations and collaborations with organizations across the library, educational, civil liberties, and social justice communities” (Neal 2018, 4). I believe AASL must build on its current partnerships and, in Jim’s words, “selectively radicalize key collaborations and coalitions.”
AASL has made strides in this area within ALA. Our collaborative advocacy for language in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and forty-five workshops that supported state-level ESSA plans was exemplary. The AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School-Library Cooperation’s toolkit is another example. Representatives from all three divisions collaborated to develop the initial toolkit that was published in February, 2018. AASL’s commitment to collaborate within ALA demonstrates we are on our way to creating a more cohesive association.
The next step is to recommit to further developing partnerships in the broader educational community. Individual school librarians are active members of other organizations. They write for non-school library journals, present at other association conferences, and connect with other groups via social media. Classroom teachers, specialists, principals, superintendents, and educational decision-makers are hearing and responding to the school librarian leadership message, but I believe we can be more strategic. We can do more.
In the KQ “Advocacy through Coalitions” issue, guest editor Nancy Jo Lambert wrote, “Often it is by means of coalition advocacy that real change is enacted through legislation, social media, and press” (Lambert 2018, 6). Building on the momentum of collaborative efforts we have made so far, AASL can make a deeper impact. Let’s step up our literacy leadership by activating key coalitions and creating change together.
Lambert, Nancy Jo. 2018. “Coalition Advocacy Needs You!” Knowledge Quest 46 (3): 6-7.
Neal, Jim. 2018. “Tying Up the Lion: Advancing Collaboration with Key Organizations.” American Libraries 49 (1-2): 5.
Author: Audrey Church, Leadership Development Committee Chair and 2017-2018 AASL Past President