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 9 Director are:
Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates.
It is really hard to choose one Shared Foundation that speaks to me because all of them do, different ones at different times. I am sure we all feel this way as we move between the various hats we wear on any given day. However, overall, I will have to say Collaborate is the most prevalent in my day to day life.
I am working in a new district this year, as the only certified librarian for seven schools, and building relationships of mutual respect between the paraprofessionals that work with me, the classroom teachers, and the various administrators has been the top priority. I seek out opportunities to share and work with colleagues every day, to remind them of the resources we have available and help them to incorporate those resources into their practices. The converse is also true. It is vital to seek out the expertise of the other teachers, especially as I learn the new curricula and developmental markers of middle and high school students. Collaborating with the people around me as I gather this information helps me grow to better assist them.
As a leader in AASL, I am collaborating with colleagues around the country to support AASL’s Strategic plan and disseminate information from AASL to those in my region. Region 9 contains many rural communities which are geographically spread out, and chances for collaboration between these communities can be difficult. Knowing that we are better as the sum of our parts, I look forward to building collaboration and promoting leadership opportunities within Region 9 and the AASL community.
The six AASL Shared Foundations–Inquire, Include, Collaborate, Curate, Explore, and Engage–are equally important frameworks for School Librarians; however, the Shared Foundation I have chosen to feature is “Inquire.” Frameworks describes Inquire as the way to “build new knowledge by inquiring, thinking critically, identifying problems, and developing strategies for solving problems.”
I feel “Inquire” is the spark that sets all the other foundations in motion; the curiosity that the learner feels for a particular topic or person is a key component for the energy to build on the Inquiry process. As our learners Think of their formulating questions of their special project, and then Create using evidence to support and fill in knowledge gaps they are guided by the expertise of the school librarian. Allowing time for learners to Share with constructive feedback to improve the content of their project is a vital part of the process, which I feel is often overlooked by educators. As learners Grow in an on-going inquiry process it is key to have students be able to continue in their growth of knowledge and be able to adapt this to the real world we live in today. Reflection of the learner will internalize this learning process.
I believe it is crucial for all School Librarians to incorporate these Shared Foundations to build and sustain the learning library environment for the future citizens of tomorrow.
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.