The Executive Board met in-person on September 9th to discuss the school library commission, MSLA conference, and other updates and basic information.
Attending (V=Virtual): Allison Barker, Old Rochester Regional High School, Co-Director Southeast Region Amy Bloom, Wilson Middle School, Co-Director Metrowest Region Rachel Bouhanda, Billerica High School, Legislation Anita Cellucci, Westborough High School, outgoing President (V) Robin Cicchetti, Concord-Carlisle High School, Research Liaison Karen Davidson-Heller, Malden Catholic High School, Co-Director Boston Region Patsy Divver, Millis Middle/High School, Co-Director Metrowest Region Deeth Ellis, Boston Latin School, Co-Director Boston Region Julie Farrell, Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School, Central Region Co-Director Barb Fecteau, Beverly High School, Co-Director Northeast Region Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Co-Chair Advocacy Laura Harrington, North Andover High School, Co-Director Northeast Region Kathy Lowe, Executive Director Laura Luker, Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter, Professional Learning Elaine Mokrzycki, Co-Director West Region Claudia Palframan, Dupont Middle School, Co-Director West Region Ann Perham, Awards Liz Phipps-Soeiro, Cambridgeport School, Legislation Katherine Steiger, Newton South High School, Forum Newsletter Co-Editor Reba Tierney, Waltham High School, Forum Newsletter Co-Editor Carrie Tucker, East Bridgewater Junior Senior High School, President Jen Varney, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Elementary School, Cambridge, Treasurer
Carrie Tucker called the meeting to order and gave special recognition to Liz Phipps Soeiro for being named School Library Journal’s 2017 Hero of Family Outreach.
Lani Blechman was unanimously approved as a new West Area Co-Director.
Robin Cicchetti reported that the School Library Commission is close to being finished with its final report. The report includes 6 key findings, among them the need for DESE to establish the role of the school library specialist. The most important message for MSLA members about the work of the Commission is that the report suggests a best case scenario that there are vast inequities in school libraries statewide and that a seat at the DESE table is the best way to start addressing those inequities. The Commission would like MSLA to come up with an advocacy plan to implement when the report is released. The bill is number S1906. There will be a formal hearing, tentatively scheduled for late September. There will be a 14-page Executive Summary written for laypeople that can be disseminated to parents, administrators, and other advocates. MBLC will host a .pdf of the final report so it will be accessible there.
Laura Luker reported that conference planning is well underway. The new venue is the DCU Center in Worcester which is much more central, but it is also more expensive. Registration costs will increase in order to break even on expenses. However, the central location hopefully gives more people the option of going home at night and saving on hotel costs. Registration will open on Jan 1.
Ann Perham announced a few changes to awards. The Super Librarian and President’s Awards will no longer be by region. Nominees will be looked at by a committee. Laura Gardner announced that Twitter chats will resume next Wednesday, Sept. 13th at 7:30 (#msla).
Kathy presented a list of lapsed members and asked Area Directors to reach out to these people and solicit feedback / encourage them to rejoin. This feedback has proved valuable in the past.
MSLA has agreed to host a list of members that are willing to host student teachers and interns. The list will be a Google Doc that Carol Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org) from the School Library program at Salem State University will keep updated. Representatives from Simmons and Cambridge College will also help and the list will be available to all institutions. Members who need to add or delete themselves from the list should contact Carol. School Library Journal’s Basecamp occurred at Simmons this past May and those that attended all agreed it was a positive experience. SLJ would like our help in advertising the event and getting the word out to our members.
Liz attended ALA DC Advocacy Day and reports that other Massachusetts librarians wondered if MSLA could send a student to Advocacy Day. A discussion was held about the feasibility of this or other creative ways to involve students. The next meeting is a virtual meeting at 4 p.m. on Oct 18th. The meeting was adjourned and members went on a tour of the Boston Public Library with Anna Fahey-Flynn.
Respectfully submitted, Jennifer VarneyMSLA Treasurer
MSLA Secretary School Librarian at Newton South High School
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