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 ISS Chair-Elect are:
- Maegen Rose
- Beth Reardon
Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates.
As information specialists, technology integrators, and literacy partners, school librarians are essential to academic success. While the pandemic has presented challenges and opportunities for all educators, school librarians have found their roles changed and expanded to meet the shifting needs of their school communities. Yet, over the last decade, school librarians have faced job loss across the country. If school librarians are to be leaders in the evolving educational landscape, school librarian jobs must not only exist, but grow in number. AASL must play a critical role in this endeavor by (1) redefining the national understanding of school librarians and school libraries; (2) advocating for school librarian jobs; and (3) partnering with library schools to ensure robust cohorts of future school librarians.
One challenge I have faced as a librarian is the seeming constant need to justify my existence. Library budgets are often the first to get cut in difficult economic times, and librarians often find themselves repurposed into the classroom or laid off. This has become painfully evident during the pandemic. AASL position papers and Standards give the building level librarian ammunition in that fight, providing evidence through research done by our peers in the profession. For example, we have probably been forced to be better advocates for our budgets. Some schools might consider an acquisitions budget unnecessary in a time of libraries closed to browsing, but we have discovered that we have more need for adequate financial resources to keep our library collections – both print and electronic – pertinent. Being able to use anecdotal evidence from our peers is a big plus.
The pandemic has also highlighted the need to revisit our pedagogies. Since many of us can no longer teach face-to-face in a classroom, we have had to increase our teaching in information and data literacy. Independent schools have the benefit of being able to experiment and innovate in our teaching practices, and we can take the lead in what looks to be a real paradigm shift in school libraries, similar to the incredible changes seen during my previous stint as Chair in the early 1990s as we transitioned from print to digital, and from card catalogs to OPACs.
Finally, we not only have been dealing with a medical pandemic, but also a time of great social change. The work we must do to acknowledge and defeat systemic racism at all levels, especially in our schools, is of utmost importance. ISS must take a lead in this, encouraging and cultivating diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels in our organization.
Author: Mary Keeling