Working Together as AASL

What an honor and privilege it is to have been elected to serve as your president for 2016-2017.  Thank you for your confidence in me as we work together to further the mission of AASL, “to empower leaders to transform teaching and learning.” Since this is my first blog post as your president, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and to share with you what I’m most looking forward to in the coming year.

A little about me:

Audrey Church

Audrey Church

I have lived in Virginia and worked in school libraries all my life.  At the beginning of my career, I was a primary school librarian, grades K-2, for three years and then a high school librarian, grades 9-12, for seventeen years. This year I begin my seventeenth year teaching in the graduate school librarianship preparation program at Longwood University in Farmville, VA.

I truthfully say that I loved being a building-level school librarian and that the only job better is that of preparing people to be school librarians. No one else in the school setting has the opportunity to work as we do:  with books and technology; with curriculum and resources, print and digital; and with students, teachers, administrators, parents, and the larger community. What an exciting and impactful job we have as we prepare students to be “critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, and ethical users of information”!

What I’m most looking forward to for 2016-2017?

When I served as president of the Virginia Educational Media Association (VEMA, now VAASL), one of my favorite experiences was attending the seven one-day regional conferences around the state in the spring.  As AASL president-elect I had the opportunity to attend our Nevada, New Jersey, and Wisconsin affiliate state conferences, and this year I am thrilled to represent AASL at our Georgia, Indiana, Texas, and Vermont affiliate conferences.  What a pleasure it is to meet and talk with you and hear about all the wonderful things that you are doing for students in your libraries on a daily basis!

As the year progresses, I look forward to seeing the fruits of our work on the new learning standards and program guidelines. I look forward to updates on the work of our CLASS II research teams as they “move the national school library research agenda toward the causal analyses underlying the differences school librarians can make for students from diverse backgrounds, poverty and special needs.”

I am thrilled beyond words that school libraries and school librarians are written in the language of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) and look forward to AASL’s work to ensure that school libraries and librarians are included in state and local implementation plans as they are written.  Every child deserves the services of a certified school librarian, and I believe that this is our first step in that direction.

I look forward to our fall event, GAME: Gaming as Meaningful Education, in Rochester, NY, September 23-24, as we “explore how to implement interactive learning opportunities in [our] library programs through all types of games…[and] discover how these strategies connect communities – students, parents, and educators – through the educational, recreational, and social value of games.” Not registered yet?  You still have time!

I also look forward to my presidential initiative and using multiple avenues to better inform principals about the key role that we play in schools, #SchoolLibrariansTransformStudentLearning. Stay tuned for more information and updates as the year progresses.

Most of all, I look forward to our work together as AASL, “the only national professional membership organization focused on school librarians and the school library community.”


Author: Audrey Church, Leadership Development Committee Chair and 2017-2018 AASL Past President

Categories: Community, Presidential Musings

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