The Tennessee Association of School Librarians (TASL) is honored to have been selected as AASL‘s Chapter of the Year for 2020. With so many hard-working chapters, we know the competition was tough. TASL would like to thank AASL and the Chapter of the Year Award Committee for recognizing the ongoing educational, community, and legislative efforts of our organization.
Tennessee is known as the “Volunteer State” and the volunteer spirit certainly shines through in our organization. TASL is made up of dedicated individuals who share a passion for service. We believe that our profession is stronger when we learn, celebrate, and advocate together. Being selected as the 2020 AASL Chapter of the Year is not only an honor, it also reaffirms that our efforts are making a difference in our state.
TASL is engaged in community efforts across Tennessee. We proudly support the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival (SEYA) and promote this event to our members and their students. TASL also works with the Tennessee Library Association (TLA) and partners with TLA for the Volunteer State Book Award (VSBA), which offers Tennessee students a voice in choosing the recipient of the award from a curated list of high-quality, diverse titles each year. TASL also promotes School Library Month and other AASL events throughout the year through our TASL Talks Blog, social media, and e-mails.
TASL works tirelessly to advocate for school libraries and school librarians in Tennessee. In recent years, our advocacy efforts have been focused on the need for a school libraries coordinator at the Tennessee Department of Education. Currently, Tennessee school libraries have no voice in the state department of education. The need for a state coordinator has been especially strong during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, school librarians need support and guidance on how to best serve our school populations during this challenging time. Our ongoing advocacy efforts also include participation in Tennessee Library Legislative Day each year in Nashville, where we meet with our legislators to talk about issues that impact school libraries and the impact school libraries have on Tennessee students and schools. We also send at least one school librarian to National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C., to represent our organization and speak with legislators about the power of fully funded, fully staffed school libraries.
Leadership development is an important part of TASL’s success. Members are encouraged to get involved and make a difference by serving on a committee, task force, or as a board member. Our leadership actively seeks feedback to guide decisions and plan for the future. TASL is also proud of our numerous members who serve in leadership positions and on various committees with AASL and ALA.
Providing professional development and networking opportunities to our members is something TASL does well. Our summer PD was held virtually this year, with more than 320 attendees. We also come together each fall for our annual conference. Typically held in the middle of our state in Murfreesboro, our 2020 virtual conference was a huge success. In 2019, we launched our webinar program, a bi-monthly series of presentations and discussion on various topics related to school librarianship. Our webinar program continues to grow and evolve. Also in 2019, our standards implementation task force developed and hosted numerous in-depth training sessions on the AASL Standards Framework for Learners for our members. Sessions were presented during our summer PD, at our annual conference, and upon request by groups of librarians across our state.
TASL is dedicated to strengthening the school library profession in Tennessee. Being selected as the AASL Chapter of the Year reinforces our belief that our ongoing efforts in areas such as advocacy, leadership, and professional development are having a positive impact on Tennessee school libraries. Receiving this award will encourage us to continue and expand our efforts across our state. Thank you again, AASL, for selecting TASL as 2020 Chapter of the Year!