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 Region 2 Director are:
Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates.
The Shared Foundation that speaks to me most is Engage. Engagement is, at the core of what School Librarians should do. As the information professional, I feel like it is our duty to assist students, colleagues, and community members in their learning by providing them with various resources to accomplish their goals. We know and should model the proper way to engage new technologies that are socially responsible, and used in the highest ethical manner. While the use of technology can be great, using it improperly can have unintended and problematic consequences. It is our responsibility to teach users of these various types of technologies the proper way to access and use them and what the law considers fair use, and the different levels of creative commons are.
When we collaborate with classroom teachers, we can create an additional learning environment for students utilizing different technologies and resources. This environment promotes students’ inquiry and allows a deeper knowledge and understanding of the inquiry process. Collaborating and engaging with classroom teachers not only provides additional instructional time for the student on curriculum material, it also allows the classroom teacher to learn how valuable our position in schools are. It is in our best interest to give our colleagues and stakeholders reasons to sing our praises, and examples of the positive effects of School Librarians. When we help them become more confident and involved in presenting their final product to an audience, we aid in the creation of their leadership role.
I see engaging as a two-fold situation that really takes flight when we spark engagement in those we initially engage with. The engage shared foundation allows the opportunity to expound upon the other foundations in a manner that meaningful.
Each of the six Shared Foundations is essential in learning and leadership. To choose just one, I consider my experiences as the President of the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, Pennsylvania Department of Education Governor’s Advisory Council on Library Development, AASL Standards Implementation Committee member, and Hershey High School NBCT Librarian, and lean into the shared foundation “Engage.”
Brené Brown speaks of engagement as having courage to “step into the arena.” I carry this lesson of responsible leadership close.
Think: We must maintain a critical stance while exploring all paths leading toward equity, access and intellectual freedom for our communities.
Create: Engaging in communication creates shared ideas, new perspectives, and lasting connections.
Share: Intentional cultural awareness and engagement with local and global communities nurtures our hearts and minds.
Grow: Asking ourselves difficult questions that inspire us and others to engage in meaningful work is courageous.
The school library leaders before me and with me have stepped into the arena. This did not happen by accident. This happened because we chose to be committed to the profession. We chose to be leaders (with or without a title). We chose to practice our values with integrity. We chose to come together whether in agreement or not. We chose to lift each other up. We chose to leave our profession a little better off than the way we found it.
When we choose to engage, it’s a courageous act. Brown says, “Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.” We don’t do this alone.
With great hope, I would be honored to serve as Region 2 Director alongside the board members, committee chairs, and AASL members as they walk in courage, lead our association… and step into the arena.
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.