Meet the 2019 AASL Candidates – AASL Division Councilor

The 2019 ALA/AASL election season is just around the corner! AASL is continuing the tradition of using the KQ website as a space for you to learn more about those standing for election on the AASL ballot. Candidates for the 13 open positions were asked to answer the question “What Shared Foundation speaks to you, and how does it apply to you as a leader in the association?” and provide a short introductory video.

As you read the candidates’ responses over the coming days, think of what you want the future of your professional organization to be. The votes we cast will determine the future of our association, so mark your calendar to cast your vote beginning March 11 and be sure your local and state peers are casting their informed votes as well. School librarians are a critical part of the American library ecosystem and voting in our association election is a clear way to demonstrate our voice, our power, and our fervent desire for the strongest future for school libraries!

The candidates for AASL Division Councilor are:

Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates.

Diane R. Chen

As a school librarian in an urban setting with students from grades 5-12, I am passionate about the AASL Shared Foundation “Include,” which describes a school librarian building empathy and equity within the global learning community. While I work to ensure the needs of my students are met through equitable access to a diverse collection, learning opportunities, and academic/social support, I am conscious of inequities throughout our country to diverse personnel, thoughtfully curated print and electronic resources, and support for librarians. As a leader in our association and while serving as representative to ALA Council, my mission has been to articulate the school library’s impact throughout ALA and to ensure AASL includes diverse voices that are heard throughout council. I have served as AASL Division Councilor for four years and introduced a resolution on Equity for all to School Libraries. I have stood at the microphone in council and advocated for inclusion of the school librarian’s viewpoint in resolutions. An essential role of division councilor is communication, so I have worked to ensure two-way communication between AASL and ALA Council. This requires bringing back to AASL information about the broader aspects of our profession – whether it is sustainability, equity, diversity and inclusion, intellectual freedom, or legislative updates. Coming from a small rural town with very limited budgets for library materials, limited internet, poor wifi and even failing landlines to an urban school with social issues of violence, gentrification, homelessness, teen pregnancy, and a divide between who owns digital tools to access information, I understand the global impact of our association’s work for school libraries. I intend to advocate for our shared foundation “Include” as your leader on council and I will continue working on equity, diversity, and inclusion as our association tackles tough issues for the future.


Shannon DeSantis

Collaboration is necessary to accomplish our Association’s goals as we do not exist as an island but as a thriving community of professionals.

Collaboration has been vital in all the professional work I have done and I consider it to be an essential component of leadership. As the Chair of the School Library Month committee I am proud to work with a dynamic team to create a campaign celebrating school libraries and school librarians. We collaborate from across the country so a wide range of librarians can share their unique perspectives on the amazing work being done in the school library world. Having this diversity of perspectives collaborating together is what makes our committee strong. The most satisfying part of leading the School Library Month committee is being given the opportunity to raise up members so they can all play to their own particular strengths; some members love connecting with authors, some are great at brainstorming activities, and some are wordsmiths. Every April, I am proud to see our work come to fruition. Collaboration grounds my leadership philosophy and how I hope to lead AASL in the Division Councilor role if elected.


Author: Steven Yates

Steven Yates is an assistant professor and coordinator of the school library media certification program at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. He earned a doctor of philosophy in instructional leadership with an emphasis in instructional technology in 2017.

Categories: Community

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