This year, all submitted commendations were approved, including MSLA’s submission for Wondermore (formerly The Foundation for Children’s Books), an organization that brings authors and books to underserved Boston school libraries as well as provides literacy professional development opportunities to Massachusetts school librarians. Wondermore will soon be receiving a commendation certificate from AASL for the work the organization does to support literacy and school library programs in Massachusetts.
The following is the report from AASL President Leslie Preddy summarizing the outcome of the various concerns that were submitted for 2015. Please note that the concerns about testing and recruitment came about, in part, from concerns submitted through our Region One, including submissions directly from the MSLA Board. Please feel free to contact MSLA’s current AASL Affiliate Assembly Delegates (Anita Cellucci or Amy Short) or another MSLA board member with any potential school library regional or national concerns/commendations for 2016. Submissions are due sometime in April each year. For more details, see AASL Statements of Concern and Statements of Commendation.
From Leslie Preddy:
"The Concerns were brought to the AASL Executive Committee for review and after much careful and thoughtful consideration and discussion, the following actions were taken:
- Digital Badges: To summarize the action requested, AA (Affiliate Assembly) would like AASL to offer digital badges for participation in Advocacy efforts and training. Initially, this request was referred to AASL Staff to investigate costs, protocol, and the impact digital badges have had by other divisions within ALA. Based on the report Executive Committee received from the Executive Director, this request has been moved forward into a Working Group. This group is being created to continue the investigation of AASL’s ability and interest in digital badges.
- Testing: To summarize the action requested, AA requested an investigation of the impact of testing in the library space on teaching and learning. This concern has been referred to the Research & Statistics Committee. Their exploration and investigation began almost immediately as they requested current data and trends from the AASL Office and to begin preliminary work with an initial survey.
- Recruitment: To summarize, AA requested recruitment tools to promote interest and encourage candidate interest in the school library field. EC (Executive Committee) has referred this concern to the ESLS (Educators of School Librarians Section) to review current resources available, as well as an analysis of what is missing and advise next steps for AASL. ESLS has already begun work on the task. They will hold a concurrent session at AASL National Conference on the topic, and I hope many of you will consider attending. The session is titled, “From Recruiting to Mentoring: Transforming Practices in School Library Preparation”, as that discussion will be crucial to addressing this concern.
- Technology Integration Specialist: To summarize the request, AA asked for a Technology Role Working Group to be established to focus on the school librarian’s role in technology instruction and integration. The EC approved the establishment of a Working Group. Potential members and chair have been carefully selected and the process of forming the group and sending out invitations to the potential participants should conclude soon and their work will begin shortly.
- Advocacy Toolkit: To summarize, AA requested an analysis of the current advocacy resources; how to make them more accessible and better impact stakeholders. This charge has been turned over to the AASL Advocacy Committee, who has accepted the charge, making it the focus of their work, with a preliminary report and recommendations brought to the board at ALA Midwinter. Please also take a look at the new Toolkit for Promoting School Library Programs which was just released on September 1, http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2015/09/public-relations-school-libraries-made-easy.
- State Departments: The request was to establish a Task Force to explore school library advocacy in state departments of education. This was approved by the Executive Committee to move forward. A Task Force requires certain protocol, which the AASL office has begun as it moves forward to the appropriate committee to establish the Task Force.
- AASL Office: To summarize, this concern requested improved communication and efficiency within the AASL office. This was moved forward to the AASL Executive Director for a review and draft of new Affiliate Assembly process and communication plan. A draft of this plan was brought to the Executive Committee in September, who provided feedback for revision. The revised plan will be brought to AACT (Affiliate Assembly Coordinating Team) for review.
- Teacher Education: In summary, the Affiliate Assembly request was to explore language and an action plan for advocating school libraries in other educator preparation program standards. CAEP (Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation) has begun work preliminary through the ALA Connect space, have a meeting scheduled at ALA Midwinter, will have a preliminary report to the Board of Directors at Midwinter, with a final report at ALA Annual."