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 Region 1 Director are:
- Anita Cellucci
- Sarah Hunicke
Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates.
As libraries continue to find and create their places within individual communities the importance is clear that we need to come together to advocate effectively for equity and access for all students and libraries. Creating partnerships and collaborating will bring positive outcomes. I truly believe that school libraries are an integral part of the solution for education and that school librarians can be a driving force for change. Over the past 4 years, attending Affiliate Assembly for Massachusetts, I have enjoyed learning about other states – the successes, the struggles and the things that connect us as school librarians. I believe that the most important focus that AASL could have over the next three years would be to help school librarians have the tools that they need – to be empowered to become a vital part of their education landscape, to provide support that allows school librarians to gain influence at their district, in their state and at the national level – in an authentic way. Gathering strength together will help us tackle these issues. Conversations need to circle around how as an organization we can help school librarians leverage the power that is embedded in the position by succinctly showing how to look at the community they service to see the gaps. What grants, training, mentoring will be available to assist in filling a gap? How can we utilize the power within the people in the organization to help those who are unable to join due to financial, emotional or other struggles? Thinking about the entire school librarian community and every student will help us to have strong commitment to stand up against issues of layoffs, closings and lack of unity. As researcher and thought leader, Dr. Brene Brown teaches, let’s have the courage to be vulnerable and to dare greatly together.
As curriculum leaders trained in both materials selection and emerging technologies, school librarians should be at the front of the Open Educational Resources movement. We can explore and use OERs to supplement our collections and instructional materials. We can continue to direct students to high quality online materials, curating resources and providing multiple access points as our school library budgets are reduced. Most excitingly we can partner with teachers at all levels as they supplement their teaching materials, or even compile customized textbooks, to personalize learning.
I’ve heard many inspirational blended and personalized learning addresses; it is all well and good to say we should ditch textbooks. However, many teachers wonder just how that is possible in a school without a 1:1 device program, with limited technology, or where students don’t have internet access at home. OERs make this transition possible. The ability to download, customize, and distribute these resources opens the door to personalized learning in schools that struggle with adequate resources and technology.
There is much work to do as we delve into OERs: portals to explore, resources to curate, professional development and in-service opportunities to seize. Will this be a monumental task? Perhaps, but AASL can provide the guidance to help school librarians make OERs accessible for all populations. The association is in a unique position to build partnerships at the national level, to develop toolkits and professional development opportunities for its membership as we set out to tackle the latest addition to our professional responsibilities. It is only natural that school librarians should leverage these materials to transform teaching and learning in our schools. With AASL’s guidance, we will be well positioned to lead our schools into the OER frontier.
Author: Audrey Church, Leadership Development Committee Chair and 2017-2018 AASL Past President