Section of School Librarians (SSL) Update

Submitted by Susan Polos, SSL President

SSL members are looking forward to our upcoming 2016 conference, “Capitalizing on Our Past, Revolutionizing Our Future,” which will be held in Albany at the Desmond Hotel May 5 - 7. We look forward to hearing from Keynote John Schumacher, the Scholastic Ambassador for School Libraries and to learning from each other in workshops on a wide variety of topics relevant to our work. We thank Melissa Bergin and her Committee, members of the Eastern New York School Library Media Association (ENYSLMA) affiliate, for their efforts to put together such an impressive event.

We have a few new additions to our conference. The first is a welcome reception for 10 New York City School Library System school librarians who have been awarded grants to attend the SSL conference. The grants have been conceived and overseen by Melissa Jacobs, Coordinator of the NYC School Library System, and the reception will include welcome remarks by state leaders as well as Lesley Preddy, President of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), who will be presenting a session on AASL as well as a double session on Ed Leadership. Charlie Kelly, our Affiliate Chair, has launched another new initiative, a planned recognition of our Affiliate Chairs at our Membership Breakfast on Saturday, May 7.

Even as we prepare for this year’s conference, Maria Muhlbauer and Tina Pierce of SSL affiliate School Librarian Association of Western New York (SLAWNY) are working on the 2017 conference, and Mary Charters and Jo Beth Roberts, co-chairs for the 2018 conference in Long Island are already working on booking a venue! We appreciate the work that goes into a conference and thank all those who make them happen and bring us together across our state.

We are committed to having a presence in conferences beyond our own, and for the second year in a row, Jill Leinung has ensured that the NYS Social Studies Association conference includes a strand of research or information literacy. Jill was able to present the NY Social Studies Association with an AASL Commendation at the opening of the conference. This year’s conference was held in Albany from March 31 – April 3. Our author panel included Steven Sheinkin, Lois Minor Huey and Jennifer Armstrong, and the conference included wonderful presentations by librarians and SLSA Directors.

NYLA continues to work to advance a bill to require a certified school librarian in every school K-12. We continue to unpack the ESSA bill. Monthly calls with NYSED arranged by John Brock and Monique Morgan have kept SSL leadership involved in state education work focusing on analysis and discussion of the SLMPE rubric. This continued in Utica and will be part of our work in Albany as well as Ithaca this summer.

We are looking toward this summer’s Leadership Institute which will feature Olga Nesi speaking on the power of reading. Our schedule is changing this year, and we are looking forward to trying a new model. We are also looking forward to focusing on different aspects of the important work we do as school librarians in New York’s schools.