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 Supervisors Section Representative to the Board are:
Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates.
When the standards were released, I was excited by the Shared Foundation Include. In order to thrive in our global society, inclusion is a crucial skill for students and adults. Librarians play an essential role in developing inclusivity in their school buildings by providing resources and modeling. I am fortunate that I live and work in a community that is diverse and that commits to inclusion. However, community leaders realize that we must continuously work on the inclusion of all of citizens.
One of the biggest challenges that the school library field faces is encouraging people with diverse backgrounds to enter the profession. Inclusion in higher education means thinking of ways to recruit and admit diverse library service students; in K-12 it means hiring librarians with diverse backgrounds; at the state affiliate level, it means encouraging diverse people to become leaders. At the national level, AASL must focus on nominating a diverse group of people to serve on the board and in other leadership positions; and it must be aware of its language and actions to make sure that both are inclusive.
When I was Affiliate Assembly Chair, it was my responsibility to make sure that all delegates had an opportunity to express their voice in the decision-making process and to feel respected for their opinion. As part of the AASL Leadership Development Committee, I realized that it was my opportunity and the committee’s responsibility to develop a diverse slate of nominees for AASL board positions. Through this process, I learned how essential it is for AASL to have representation of a wide variety of cultures, genders and races in leadership. As the Supervisors Section Representative to the board, I will draw upon these experiences and will continue to use the Include foundation in my work as an AASL leader.
Suzanna L. Panter
As a leader in AASL I identify most with our Shared Foundation of Collaborate. At the center of the Shared Foundation compass, the phrase “Start with Community” really strikes to the heart of the values our organization holds. We are a community of professionals and friends. We are a united body of diverse individuals working toward a common goal. We are comprised from thousands of the most dedicated educators in our nation.
I rely on our community to deepen understandings and solve problems more effectively. We are only as strong as our members and thank goodness, they are the best in the business. As only one of a handful of library supervisors in my state, I depend heavily upon the other library supervisors I have met though AASL. By email, text or yes even ALA Connect I know I have a family of professionals I can rely on when big issues arise in my district. Through AASL I stay connected in this sometimes-lonely position.
It’s vital for AASL leaders to think flexibly and seek diverse viewpoints from both inside and outside our community when solving problems. From initiatives like the AASL Social Media Superstars, the open KQ blog and various social media presences we are reaching new audiences to help articulate the organizations thoughts, negotiate meaning, and integrate other perspectives into our organizational thinking.
We have brilliant members that have experiences from all corners of our nations school systems. We must harness their wisdom when looking toward the future. AASL has helped me grow as a leader and a person by learning with and from others through thoughtful discussions and collaborative efforts. I’m very thankful for being a part of this professional community and am looking forward to giving back to it even more.
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.