Meet the 2021 AASL Candidates – Educators of School Librarians Section Secretary

The 2021 ALA/AASL election season is almost here! This year, AASL continues its “Meet the Candidates” series on the KQ website. The association has invited each candidate to use this space to introduce themselves with a short video and a blog post responding to this prompt:

“The pandemic has presented challenges and opportunities for all educators. As you consider the next few years, how do you see AASL ensuring school librarians are leaders in the evolving educational landscape?”

Each candidate offers strong qualifications for serving in leadership capacities throughout AASL. View their videos, read their blog posts, and consider how each one can shape the future of our professional association. Join them for a Q&A session at the AASL Town Hall on March 3, at 6:00 p.m. Central to learn more. Then vote! Vote to show your support, and vote to make your influence felt. Encourage other AASL members to vote as well. Let’s demonstrate our leadership within ALA by standing strong with our candidates and voting in this election.

Mark your calendar to cast your vote while polls are open, March 8–April 7.

The candidates for ESLS Secretary are:

  • Jenna Spiering
  • Michelle Wilson

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

Michelle Wilson

The harsher realities of the pandemic have included a widening of achievement gaps, struggles in schools for librarians to gain access to students, and soaring rates of emotional stress. However, there have been some positives as well. Record-setting funding for technology has bridged the Digital Divide in many communities, and many have had more meaningful opportunities to connect with parents and students than ever. 

The pandemic has been undeniably brutal, but it has also reset us back to the most basic principles of the school library profession, which include an emphasis on ensuring students have access to information, equity for all students, the relentless pursuit of opportunities for collaborative instruction, and full integration into the curriculum. School librarians have pushed for the acquisition or conversion of resources to meet the challenges of virtual learning, have fought for all students to have access through hardware and bandwidth, and have continued to partner with colleagues to collaboratively plan, teach, and evaluate lessons in the traditional, virtual, and blended environments. School librarians have been amazingly adaptable because of the core values that are deep within them. When under great duress, we revert back to what was foundationally ingrained within us. AASL has faithfully guided and supported school librarians in serving as leaders of the evolving educational landscape since its inception, and it is that foundation that we can continue to count on. 

I see AASL ensuring school librarians remain as powerhouse leaders both for pre-service and practicing school librarians. The leadership will advocate for the quality preparation of pre-service school librarians through providing resources, instructional guidelines, and rigorous standards. AASL will support practitioners by providing “right on time” PD, fertilizing opportunities for school librarians to develop their professional learning network, and by equipping librarians to serve as effective advocates through excellence in their daily work. 

School librarians are tired and exhausted but when the pandemic hit, they were ready in every way they could have been. Through the continual support and resources from AASL they will be ready for the new normal…and beyond.

Author: Mary Keeling

Categories: Community


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