School Librarians Transform Learning: Teaching with the new AASL Standards

by Sue Kowalski

Overview of 2018 NYLA-SSL Ed Leadership Institute

On August 2 and 3, 2018, the School Librarians Section of the New York State Library Association (NYLA-SSL) hosted its annual Carol A. Kearney Educational Leadership Institute. This year’s institute, SCHOOL LIBRARIANS TRANSFORM LEARNING: TEACHING WITH THE NEW AASL STANDARDS, was held in Syracuse, NY at the Sheraton University.

Coordinated by NYLA-SSL Ed Leadership Chairs, Lisa Perkowski, and Sara Kelly Johns, the Institute provided a forum for 113 participants to engage in professional development on the new standards of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).   

After almost three years of research, writing, planning, and development, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) released refreshed standards for learners, school librarians, and school libraries at its National Conference in Phoenix, AZ in November 2017.  More information about the school library as part of the learning community is here.

Presenters Susan Ballard, Sara Kelly Johns, Michelle Miller, and Penny Sweeney each offered expertise in the development and implementation of the AASL School Library Standards and lead participants through training and hands-on practice.

Participants earned 12 hours of in-service or CTLE credit (their choice) for attending the Institute which also included a “Booktalking Bonanza” event that gave attendees the opportunity to booktalk and learn about books that reflect diversity, acceptance, and have the potential to connect to a wide range of readers.

Juan Rivera, NYC Librarian and AASL Emerging Leader, shared how this team used the AASL School Library Standards in their development of a guide for school librarians to grow their capacity, examine their collections, and continue to support Intellectual Freedom and LGBTQ collections. More resources found on this document:

Attendees were from all over NYS.  Each year NYLA-SSL offers scholarships to attend and this year 16 professionals were funded by these scholarships.  Some attendees were sponsored by their BOCES or individual school Districts.  Many funded and supplemented their own travel, lodging, and attendance.   

The annual Institute included an auction with donations from business and vendor partners, regional affiliates, and personal donations.  This year’s auction yielded $2,550, but an online fundraiser continues through the end of August.  These funds will sponsor multiple attendees for the 2019 Institute.

A fundraising store has been set up to order this year’s "Peace, Love, Standards" items and can be accessed here. Proceeds of each transaction goes to support the Institute scholarship fund. Orders will be accepted through Aug 29th and items will arrive around September 17th.

Attendees left equipped with resources, training, and practice to be able to apply the new AASL Standards to their teaching and learning.  They are also poised to take the lead in their districts and regions as turnkey trainers.  

NYLA-SSL is committed to empowering school librarians to transform teaching and learning.  For more information about the Institute, AASL standards, or NYLA-SSL, ask your school librarian, School Library System Director, or contact Sue Kowalski, AASL Delegate, and we can direct you to the information you need.