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 President-Elect are:
Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates.
“Engage” is the Shared Foundation that I believe holds the most promise for our profession. As educators, we know that engagement in the learning process leads to learner success. Engagement is also key to communicating our professional value and addressing educational challenges.
School library stakeholders–parents, fellow educators, administrators, and elected officials–become more engaged in discussions and consequent actions when they understand the connection between school libraries/librarians and successful learners. I believe that a more meaningful engagement will come when, rather than simply presenting our worth to those groups, we begin to ask them how we can best serve them.
Public innovator Rich Harwood encourages organizational leaders to turn outward and ask their affiliates what they need. By engaging in these broader conversations, we can gather information that will help us be more responsive to our members and stakeholders. By discovering our shared aspirations and working together within and outside of our schools, we will move our organization forward and improve our communities. Actively engaging with our stakeholders will ensure that we think, create, share, and grow our knowledge together.
Advocacy is a profound means of engagement. Effective advocacy comes from examining policies in light of present and future circumstances informed by current, quality evidence. In our data driven world, our ability to collect, analyze, and use facts and figures is an essential feature of our practice and key to engaging our communities. Facts and anecdotes may garner us a place at the table, but meaningful evidence, in context, is the element that will engage stakeholders in developing sustainable solutions to the challenges present in our schools, organizations, and communities.
I welcome the opportunity to engage with our members in positive endeavors that will provide every learner with access to school libraries/librarians. Because together, we are school library strong!
The new National School Library Standards provide school librarians with the tools to navigate within a framework for dynamic learning leadership. While all of the Standards’ Foundations are necessary elements to ensure students’ and programming success, one that strongly resonates with me is the Shared Foundation Include. Some of the key components of this foundation require a demonstration and understanding of and commitment to inclusiveness and respect for diversity, in its many forms, in the learning community. Unfortunately, many students have preconceived beliefs about a myriad of issues and are often unwilling to consider evidence that does not support their narrative. While students need to understand the inquiry and research process, I feel the Include foundation provides librarians with an additional platform to expand learners’ perspectives and world view. Additional competencies such as participation in respectful conversations and debates and demonstrating empathy and tolerance for others will encourage learners to become more reflective and introspective scholars and most importantly more aware and thoughtful human beings.
To “include” is not synonymous with agreement, but it is a necessary precursor for thoroughly evaluating issues and respecting and validating others. These are qualities that I feel apply to an effective leader. I ascribe to the transformational style of leadership; therefore, I believe in leading by example. As the AASL President-elect, I will support the Mission Statement and work to finalize and implement our new Strategic Plan, and will always use an evidence-based approach to understanding. Mirroring the tenets of this foundation, I will be open to new ideas and communicate with members and other stakeholders, thereby creating an environment that is both aspirational and inclusive.
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.