Meet the 2019 AASL Candidates – Member-at-Large

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 Member-at-Large are:

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

Laura Hicks

When I contemplate the Shared Foundation from the National School Library Standards that speaks most clearly to me, I would have to say it is Collaborate.  Collaboration allows us to work and interact productively through effective communication, fulfilling engagement, and fruitful mentorship.

My main tool for collaboration as a member of the Board of Directors will be communication. Effective communication will ensure that I am accessible and responsive to messages and feedback from members and colleagues. Communication also facilitates chances for collaboration outside of conferences and meetings. We should seize every chance to open a collaborative dialog with stakeholders around our powerful messages about the importance of school librarians and school libraries.

Collaboration should also be employed to increase participation in all areas and interests in AASL. Engagement in our association through actively volunteering for various committees and advocacy groups is the most visible example of collaboration. I see the at-Large position as a touchstone for members to be able to see themselves in these roles and how fulfilling their contributions can be. My involvement in Board and Affiliate Assembly meetings will provide me the opportunity to collaborate face to face with colleagues from across the country as well.

Finally, a major responsibility of every member of the Board of Directors is to collaborate with other School Librarian leaders to foster mentorships across all levels and types of libraries. The role of a mentor is not a one-sided relationship. You have to work collaboratively with people to broaden and deepen their leadership qualities. I see the roles of our governing body as the perfect platform to nourish the leadership flame that exists in all of us.

I believe it is incumbent on all leaders to exercise their collaborative skills to encourage communication, engagement and mentorship for the advancement of the entire profession.


Chiquita Toure

My name is Chiquita Toure and I am excited about running for the position of Member-at-Large of the AASL. Now in my 10th year, I serve as the school librarian at Eastmoor Academy High School located in Columbus, Ohio. Previously I taught ELA for 13 years at the elementary and middle school levels. Through library sponsored workshops, seminars, and collaborative teaching assignments our students have learned to become more critical thinkers and effective users of information. They are also more proficient and confident with oral and written language skills. Moreover, I enjoy building collaborative relationships with shareholders who represent diverse perspectives within the community.

I am also a blogger for Knowledge Quest, whereby I highlight best practices as a school librarian. In January 2018, the Columbus Education Association awarded me the Helen Jenkins Davis award for my work with promoting culturally diverse literature and social justice advocacy programs.

I am committed to representing the membership of AASL and ensuring we fully understood and advocate for the shared foundation of “Include.“

We exhibit this foundation when we:

  1. Positively impact learning for all students particularly those who have been marginalized due to race, gender or socio-economic status.
  2. Understand the school library can be some students’ first introduction to literacy; therefore we must provide safe spaces and opportunities for our students to think, learn, explore, and grow.
  3. Genuinely respect diverse views through interaction and engagement at local and global levels to the end of enhancing our own understanding of concepts.
  4. Create and execute individual and group expressions of empathy and equity because we sincerely honor what each contributes to knowledge making and management.

The future looks bright for AASL and I look forward to playing a greater role within an organization that continues to transforms learning.


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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