I want to share with you my commitment to school libraries and school library workers.
At Midwinter, I had a chance to meet with the Board of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) to discuss the recent passage of ESSA and how I would approach advocacy for school libraries and librarians with national agencies and state education departments as ALA President.
I believe that the ALA President must work collaboratively with all of the Division Presidents and rally the association behind issues for which a particular division is best-suited to provide leadership. The strength of having divisions – in this case AASL – is that we have strong leadership in focused areas. I would seek to support AASL leaders in their role while using my position of ALA President to amplify their message.
My support for school libraries is not just in the abstract. In my career, I have worked as a school librarian and used my roles in higher education to advocate for school libraries and librarians. My work includes:
- Acting Head of University Laboratory High School Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2004), while Frances Harris was on sabbatical writing her book, I Found It On the Internet: Coming of Age Online.
- Founder and convener of the Central Illinois Library Instruction Group (1999-2002), which brought together high school and college librarians in the region to foster partnerships around information literacy, teaching, and learning.
- Member of School Library Implementation Task Force (2013), OITP Digital Literacy Task Force (2011-2013, and the National Expert Panel for the OLS Libraries, Literacy, and Gaming Initiative (2008-2011) in ALA.
- Workshop leader on k-20 curricular alignment and high school-to-college transition.
- Speaker at past AASL and Treasure Mountain conferences.
- Author of “Technology and the Concept of Information Literacy for Pre-Service Teachers.” Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 22(1), 7-18.
- Mentor and instructor for many students studying school librarianship in the UIUC Graduate School of Library and Information Science.
- Engaged with support for school libraries internationally, e.g., at the IFLA 2015 Satellite Conference on School Libraries & Guided Inquiry: Taking Stock & Taking Action.
- Focused my ALA President campaign platform on supporting member engagement, digitally inclusive practices in ALA, and active advocacy for library workers salaries, benefits, and workplace conditions, which are particularly important for small libraries with challenging budget situations.
- Support and advocacy for ESSA using materials from AASL.
I believe we must work to ensure librarians in every school and inclusion of school libraries in education funding and policy frameworks. Our children deserve the benefits of having a school library and librarian and our society needs informed and well-educated graduates.
As I have always worked at institutions that educate future teachers, I’ve also worked to ensure that future teachers understand the potential of partnering with their school librarians. I was particularly proud to fund the development of our Library’s portal: Take Us to School! Resources for Student Teachers.
I am an enthusiastic supporter of school libraries and librarians. I welcome the opportunity to amplify the work of AASL as ALA President!