What Exactly Are the School Librarian Preparation Standards?

You might have seen a press release from AASL back in November about the newly approved ALA/AASL/CAEP School Librarian Preparation Standards. And you might have thought, “What is this? Another new set of standards?” Sometimes all the different sets of standards can be confusing. These standards are different; they are used to guide school librarian preparation programs preparing future school librarians for Master’s degrees that include school library licensure.

If you think back to your Master’s courses, you might have seen AASL professional standards embedded in the course syllabus or assignments. These were the school librarian preparation standards. A school librarian preparation program that wants to receive national recognition by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP) and ALA/AASL must implement these standards and go through the CAEP accreditation process.

Over the next two years, school librarian preparation programs seeking national recognition will be transitioning to these new standards. As a result, if you are currently taking classes for your degree or for licensure, you’ll probably hear your instructors talk about these new standards and how they are changing their course learning outcomes and assessments to better align to them. All programs wishing to be recognized through ALA/AASL must align their programs to the new standards by spring of 2022.

The new standards were developed over a two-year period through the work of the AASL-CAEP Coordinating Committee. Prior to the publication of the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries, the committee was assisted by several editorial board members from the National School Library Standards writing team so that the new preparation standards could reflect the ideals and language in the AASL Standards. The AASL-CAEP Coordinating Committee shared drafts of the new preparation standards multiple times at the 2017 AASL National Conference, 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference, and 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting. We sought feedback from practicing school librarians, professors and instructors, and other kinds of preparation programs.

The five standards included in the new 2019 school librarian preparation standards are:

  • Standard 1: The Learner and Learning. Candidates in school librarian preparation programs are effective educators who demonstrate an awareness of learners’ development. Candidates promote cultural competence and respect for inclusiveness. Candidates integrate the National School Library Standards considering learner development, diversity, and differences while fostering a positive learning environment. Candidates impact student learning so that all learners are prepared for college, career, and life.
  • Standard 2: Planning for Instruction. Candidates in school librarian preparation programs collaborate with the learning community to strategically plan, deliver, and assess instruction. Candidates design culturally responsive learning experiences using a variety of instructional strategies and assessments that measure the impact on student learning. Candidates guide learners to reflect on their learning growth and their ethical use of information. Candidates use data and information to reflect on and revise the effectiveness of their instruction.
  • Standard 3: Knowledge and Application of Content. Candidates in school librarian preparation programs are knowledgeable in literature, digital and information literacies, and current instructional technologies. Candidates use their pedagogical skills to actively engage learners in the critical-thinking and inquiry process. Candidates use a variety of strategies to foster the development of ethical digital citizens and motivated readers.
  • Standard 4: Organization and Access. Candidates in school librarian preparation programs model, facilitate, and advocate for equitable access to and the ethical use of resources in a variety of formats. Candidates demonstrate their ability to develop, curate, organize, and manage a collection of resources to assert their commitment to the diverse needs and interests of the global society. Candidates make effective use of data and other forms of evidence to evaluate and inform decisions about library policies, resources, and services.
  • Standard 5: Leadership, Advocacy, and Professional Responsibility. Candidates in school librarian preparation programs are actively engaged in leadership, collaboration, advocacy, and professional networking. Candidates participate in and lead ongoing professional learning. Candidates advocate for effective school libraries to benefit all learners. Candidates conduct themselves according to the ethical principles of the library and information profession.

Each standard includes several components that explain that standard in further detail. You can find a one-page version of the standards and their components here. Full information about the new standards can be found at http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aasleducation/ALA_AASL_CAEP_School_Librarian_Preparation_Standard_%202019_Final.pdf.

Want to Learn More?

If you’re attending ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia, several of the AASL-CAEP Coordinating Committee members will take part in a panel discussion as part of the “News You Can Use” sessions. Our panel is taking place on Saturday, January 25, at 10:30 a.m. in room 122-B of the Philadelphia Convention Center. For a  brief summary of the session, visit https://2020.alamidwinter.org/news-you-can-use.

Additionally, we will be leading a working session to unpack the new school librarian preparation standards during the Educators of School Librarians Section meeting on Sunday, January 26, at 8:30 a.m. in room 104-AB of the Philadelphia Convention Center.

Finally, we will present a series of webinars on the new school librarian preparation standards in late spring. The webinars will include training for anyone who would like to become a program reviewer using these new standards. We hope you’ll consider becoming a program reviewer!

Author: April Dawkins

Categories: Association News, Education News, News

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