New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

SSL Update: October 2014

By: Karen Sperrazza

Education Leadership co-chairs, Sara Kelly Johns and Lisa Perkowski successfully planned the 2014 Education Leadership Institute which took place August 4 and 5 at Cornell University.  With the theme, Own the Common Core Research Requirements, presenters Paige Jaeger and Michelle Luhtala led more than 130 school librarians in viewing the Common Core Research Requirements through a librarian’s lens.  Facilitators were Jill Leinung, Sue Kowalski, Rebecca Buerkett, and Susan Polos who effectively described ways in which they collaborate with teachers and work with students to achieve optimal results while overcoming challenges.  Institute attendees left prepared to assist teachers in "repackaging" and aligning their lessons and research projects to embrace deep learning, complex text integration, application strategies, and independent research initiatives.  
Our guest, Jeremy Johanessen, NYLA’s Executive Director, found the Monday evening auction to be one of the highlights of SSL’s day and a half Institute.  Many thanks go to Jim Belaire for his extraordinary auctioneering skills.  “Ithaca is Gorges” is the resounding cry as the evening progresses and Jim encourages bidding wars, even between friends, for these donated items. All auction proceeds are applied to scholarships for librarians to attend next year’s Institute.  This year we had thirteen scholarship recipients in attendance including one special donation scholarship in honor of Marcia Eggleston.  Marcia has been instrumental in the development of our Education Leadership Institute, formerly Retreat, for many years.  Thanks to everyone who donated and bid on items.  Special thanks also go to YSS and SUNY Buffalo’s iSchool for donating beautifully appointed items in baskets that drove the bidding to ever higher amounts.  Auction proceeds from 2014 will fund more than ten scholarships for the 2015 Institute.  

Preceding the Institute was the SSL Board meeting which began on Saturday evening with committee work and group discussions.  We made significant progress with defining Board positions, and organizational job descriptions and responsibilities.  Saturday evening provided an opportunity for a group to outline the SSL Position Paper on Elementary Librarians.  Sunday was a full day board meeting during which we discussed NYLA President Sara Kelly John’s initiative, the School Library Summit, SLS14.  Sara briefly explained the one and a half days’ work that was accomplished in Albany, July 7-8.  The resulting actions and recommendations were delineated with a request for leadership in fulfilling these actions from Board members.

Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core took place in Albany on August 12 and 13.  Some of the ways that cultural educational institutions can work with teachers and librarians to achieve success with the Common Core and engage students in authentic learning activities were presented.  Participants left with renewed enthusiasm and some unique approaches to bringing the Common Core to students in a meaningful way.  

Work has begun on the recommendations established at the School Library Summit 2014, SLS14.  We now have a timeline established, the stakeholder groups are identified, and the work of accomplishing the recommendations and actions spelled out during SLS14 can begin.

SSL’s Position Paper supporting certified librarians in all elementary schools, begun in August during the committee work prior to the Board meeting and Education Leadership Institute, is nearing completion.  Even though it’s now in an expanded version of the envisioned document, the points included in the document needed to be stated.  

SSL is continuing their outreach with Social Studies through our participation in NYSCSS Convention, March 11-14, 2015, with NYSCSS President-elect, Lawrence Paska.  The organizing committee meets periodically through conference calls to plan for this upcoming event.  SSL will fill the strand “Library and Information Literacy”, presenting several workshops, and inviting authors in the Social Studies area.

To continue to promote outreach to all curricular areas, a partial list of non-library conferences was sent to the SSL Board list.  While our focus is still on library conferences, local, state, and national, we are beginning to build awareness and offer the opportunity for school librarians to participate in other subject area conferences. 

NYLA’s Annual Conference, Open Libraries, Open Minds, November 5-8 in Saratoga, was promoted to all SSL members.  MaryAnn Karre, VP-Conferences and NYLA Programmer, has organized a Wednesday pre-conference, continuing education program with Dr. Barbara Stripling, six SSL sponsored programs,  three programs co-sponsored by SSL, and arranged with Bryan Collier to present at our Saturday morning Membership Meeting.   It promises to be a great conerence!

The New York City Department of Education Library Conference on November 13, provides an opportunity for NYLA/SSL to introduce the benefits of membership to many school librarians in the New York City area. Two NYLA/SSL representatives, Karen Sperrazza and Sara Kelly Johns, will accompany the Exhibit Board to Citi Field in Queens for this event.