New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

2014 School Library Summit

A Statewide Strategic Plan for School Libraries

By: Mary Ratzer

The 2014 School Library Summit, held at the State Education Department on July 7 and 8, could definitely be characterized by attributes which are

often associated with the Common Core: multiple perspectives, rigor, relevance, collaboration, communication, and deeper understanding.  Indeed, the Common Core energized this gathering of thought leaders from key leadership organizations including NYLA, SLSA, SSL, State Education Department, and from Pre-K-12, higher education, and the community.   Charged with generating a strategic action plan for New York’s school libraries, participants were welcomed by NYLA President Sarah Kelly Johns, NYLA Director Jeremy Johannesen, and State Education Department Associate John Brock.

That charge defined the work of participants, who generated and presented a framework to ensure that all students have access to quality school library programs, relevant resources, and a highly skilled, certified school librarian in every school.    Their audience at the end of day two of the summit included Commissioner John King, Deputy Commissioners Ken Wagner and Jeff Cannell, State Librarian Bernard Margolis, senior managers of the State Education Department, Regent Dawson, Regent Tillis, and other key decision makers.  Summit teams focused on key areas for a plan including: Administrative Support, Curriculum and Instruction, Materials Support, Professional development, and Program Assessment.

This opportunity for a cross section of experts, from many library based constituencies, to generate and present a focused action plan empowered those present.  As they built consensus, exchanged feedback, and finally conveyed meaningful ideas and understandings to decision makers, they took an active role in their own future.  The Common Core validates the highly relevant role of the school librarian in college and career readiness. This summit moved forward from the School Library Summit in 2009. Many of the outcomes of the 2009 summit became starting points with continuity for the 2014 plan.

The Summit Framework has five components, and will be released as an action plan in the near future, addressing these areas:
•    Collaboration and Partnerships
•    Development and Distribution of Resources
•    Research and Data
•    Marketing, Communication and Outreach
•    Funding and Legislation

Mary Ratzer is a retired, veteran school librarian from Shenendehowa Centrals Schools, and 20 year adjunct at the UAlbany  Department of Information Studies teaching Curriculum and Supportive Resources. I have pioneered inquiry learning with teachers and librarians across New York , and recently co-authored three books with Paige Jaeger, including Rx for the Common Core: A Toolkit for Implementing Inquiry Learning.