Once upon a time that is now, valiant school librarians bravely arrive at school every day to promote literacy, diversity, equity, inclusion, the right to be educated, and the First Amendment right to read. These amazing knights of knowledge, princes and princesses of peace, face down enemies of their kingdoms with swords of truth that are being battered aside by the strong foes of misinformation. We feel battle-worn but continue to stand as voices for the voiceless and strength for the weak. Make no mistake, school librarians are amazing–YOU are amazing!
It is now March again and time for the AASL membership to elect the valiant volunteers who will lead our organization forward! Please join me in cheering on the brave candidates who have agreed to stand for election, adding national leadership to their repertoire of skills. They have introduced themselves in videos on the AASL YouTube Channel. They have also written answers to the following question: “Every school librarian is a leader. What is one of your leadership traits, and how will you use that to forward AASL’s mission and vision for every learner to have a school librarian?” Please read through their answers below and be sure to vote when the ballot arrives in your inbox.
Thank you to the valiant volunteers who have served as AASL leaders and those who have agreed to lead into the future. We may each be weary in today’s climate, but together we are stronger. We are School Librarians. We are AASL.
Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates. Mark your calendar to cast your vote while polls are open, March 13 – April 5.
The candidates for the Educators of School Librarians Section, Chair-elect are:
Mary Ann Harlan
The candidates for the Educators of School Librarians Section, Secretary are:
Mary Ann Harlan
My involvement in AASL has always been rooted in ideas of service and community. I have seen the value of my involvement in the sense of community and the relationships that form that community. I strive to contribute and build community as a leader through a willingness to listen and making space for a variety of voices to be heard. Community strikes me as especially important now.
Willingness to listen is perhaps an easy leadership trait to identify but making space for others to hear as well is fundamental to collaborative approaches to problem solving and communication of ideas. I recognize that no one person has expertise in all facets and or elements of school librarianship and we need not only to be able to share, but to listen. As school librarian educators there is a responsibility to awareness of issues in the field, how we might contribute to advocating for K12 students to have an equitable high quality education to which school librarians contribute, and how we educate our own future librarians students not only to provide service to students but to advocate on behalf of themselves and their students.
It is impossible to ignore the grave legislative challenges the field is facing which will impact the capacity to prepare future school librarians but also to ensure that we do not lose school librarians through fear, and exhaustion. ESLS needs to address this trend and we will need a variety of perspectives to do this. Sharing our concerns, ideas and responses is necessary to ensure we can support the mission of having a school librarian for every learner. Community is more important than ever.
I represent the Educators for School Librarians Section, which is a section within AASL that focuses solely on the education and development of school librarians in higher education institutions. ESLS is a section of educators who believe that school librarians are leaders, and our section examines and creates new research, as well as discusses best practices for teaching and improving library science curricula to best support the needs of school librarians. AASL’s mission is for every learner to have a school librarian. I believe that I can help forward this mission by preparing each of my students with the skills needed to be the most effective and successful librarian possible so that they are able to demonstrate value within their school. Schools which have excellent librarians cannot deny the value that they bring to the school community!
The community of ESLS educators is an impressive scholarly community, and knowing more about the new research in the field has personally improved my teaching. Because of ESLS, I am able to share new school library research with students and colleagues, and identify gaps in research for my own research. If elected as a Secretary for ESLS, I hope to bring this enthusiasm for school librarian education and research to the section, as well as be responsive to the needs of the group by acting as an information and reference point.
Leadership is about making sure that others have the skills, resources, and support they need to be successful. One of my leadership traits is collaboration and seeking the feedback, expertise, and experience of others. We cannot grow as a profession if we do not work together, lending our ideas and perspectives to one another to ensure we are meeting the needs of all our members. We leader together when we partner with other educators to teach inquiry or scaffold learning, engage with our stakeholders to ensure the library meets the needs of all learners, build coalitions to advocate for equitable access to certified librarians, model the importance of information-literacy, and so much more. To work together successfully, we must understand each other and develop processes and procedures that promote equitable access to information. As secretary of ESLS, I would work to reduce the barriers of communication to increase collaboration so that together we can all help further AASL’s mission for every learner to have a school librarian.
Author: Jennisen Lucas, AASL Leadership Development Committee Chair
As the AASL Immediate Past President, Jennisen Lucas is chair of the AASL Leadership Development Committee.