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 SPVS Chair-Elect are:
- Jenny Takeda
- Kerry Townsend
Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates.
When considering opportunities for school librarians to be leaders in the changing educational landscape, four areas of focus come to mind:
- Advancing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Anti-Bias/Anti-Racism work
- Addressing the digital divide and digital equity
- Taking lessons learned from teaching and learning during the pandemic to improve the school experience for students
- Ensuring the teaching of media and information literacy skills
How can AASL bring school librarian voices together within and outside the profession to demonstrate our leadership in these areas? The following ideas are a continuation and extension of successful efforts:
- Continue the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work led by the 2019-2020 Presidential Initiative Task Force (http://www.ala.org/aasl/all/EDI)
- Work with the ISTE Digital Equity PLN and others to advocate for digital access for all students (The Digital Divide Has Narrowed, But 12 Million Students Are Still Disconnected – EdSurge 1/27/21)
- Host continued virtual AASL Town Halls and section meetings on specific topics for school librarians and supervisors to collaborate and share successful educational practices. In my district, the Library and Instructional Technology teachers have come together to share effective instructional practices during distance learning and strategies and tools to carry forward into the future. How can we expand these collaborative efforts for districts to share with each other?
- Seek opportunities for administrators and schools librarians to present together at administrator conferences and co-author articles in educational journals. Consider forming a second AASL School Leader Collaborative once the work of the first group concludes (School Administrators and the Power of School Librarians – Kathryn Roots Lewis 4/29/20).
The AASL Supervisors section plays an important role in bringing school library leaders together to share ideas and be thought partners with other educational organizations, administrators, and vendors.
Wow! What an amazing time to be a school librarian! For years I have dreamed of a time when conversations about the best use of high quality digital resources was prioritized. (Although my dreams never included a global pandemic.) This year, school librarians across the country led these conversations in their respective districts and buildings and then taught teachers and students alike how to integrate these digital resources into teaching and learning. School librarians also have the opportunity to help work toward social justice by introducing diverse media (books, podcasts, films, and others) that help students develop critical thinking skills and empathy. These leadership opportunities require members of AASL share they have learned with their school leaders and one another.
Challenges will certainly be faced in the coming years: lack of broadband access for students, funding shortfalls and student trauma. Time for reflection about the shift to increasing use of digital resources and online learning will be needed to lead this charge in our respective educational communities Reflective practice is a part of this process. What do our students need now? What has been forever changed? Teachers are returning to in-seat teaching empowered and looking to our expertise in digital learning to support their continued growth.
It is essential that the Supervisors’ section continues to provide guidance and professional learning opportunities. School librarians and district supervisors must understand how policy at the local, state and national level can impact them and their students. The AASL Pandemic resources collected and synthesized for use by school librarians, the AASL Free Learning Library, and Town Hall meetings provided opportunities for guidance and professional learning. Working with ALA and the Educators of School Librarians Section leadership will help us collectively achieve our goals as will conversations with educational leaders outside of the school library field.
Author: Mary Keeling