Meet the 2020 AASL Candidates – Independent Schools Section Secretary

The 2020 ALA/AASL election season is coming up quickly! AASL is continuing the practice of using the KQ website as a venue for you to learn more about each candidate. Those standing for election were asked to provide a short video introducing themselves. In addition they were asked to respond to this prompt: Select one of the four objectives under the Leadership Activation goal ( in AASL’s strategic plan, and speak to your role in meeting that objective. 

As you read the candidates’ responses, remember that these positions reflect those approved in the recent by-laws election. Consider the future of your professional school library organization as you vote. Mark your calendar to cast your vote beginning March 9. Remember to invite your colleagues to vote as well. AASL Past President Steven Yates said it best last year, “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 Independent School Section Secretary are:

  • Anna Brannin
  • Kate S. Lewallen

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

Anna Brannin

When I first learned about ISS, I was eager to get involved. I soon realized though that unless I held an elected position, the amount of help I could provide was limited. All-members meetings take place only twice a year, at Midwinter and Annual, and beyond that, the level of activity is often behind the scenes among the leadership. If elected ISS secretary, I would love the chance to help increase opportunities for member participation, and would use my role to assist with the already ongoing efforts that are addressing this issue.

Increasing communication between conferences can lead to more involvement and will allow for more ways for members to participate. By holding monthly leadership meetings, those elected can check in with each other more frequently to ensure continuous work. Additionally, holding virtual monthly meetings for all members will provide an opportunity to get more involved by learning about ISS’s work, volunteering when able, and voicing any questions or input.

Creating task forces or focus groups not only helps further the work of ISS, but would allow for members to choose to contribute in areas they feel qualified, whether it be social media, webinars, diversity, or other areas. I’d also like to work to make it possible for ISS members who aren’t able to attend Midwinter or Annual to still be able to attend our meetings there virtually. Attending conferences is a challenge in many ways; providing access to our meetings would allow for more members to see ISS in action while also being able to participate.

I believe strongly in the purpose of ISS and would love to continue working with this section and with AASL. Thank you!


Kate S. Lewallen

As a candidate for Independent Schools Section secretary, I feel that my role would help meet the goal of increasing opportunities for state and local leaders to enhance their leadership capacity. The main role of a secretary is to make sure that all members are aware of what is happening in the organization, and these communications are the first step in getting members involved. I’m sure that many school librarians start by being leaders and volunteers through their state and local organizations, like I did, where we already know many of our colleagues and feel a sense of connection. For members looking to volunteer nationally, it can be overwhelming since those connections we have locally seem harder to find and the possibilities for volunteering seem to be on a grander scale. Regular communication helps build these connections and gives a familiar face to the leaders of ISS and AASL. In addition, it can make members more aware of the myriad levels of volunteers that AASL and ISS need to be successful, from small to large, therefore opening up opportunities for members already involved regionally to become more involved nationally. Increasing opportunities for leadership starts with communication, and as secretary I would work to meet that goal.

Categories: Community


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