Section of School Librarians (SSL) Update
Submitted by Susan Polos, SSL President
The NYLA/SSL conference, “Capitalizing on Our Past, Revolutionizing Our Future," was held in Albany May 5-7. The conference was hosted by the Eastern New York School Library Media Association (ENYSLMA) and was held at the Desmond Hotel. Keynote speakers included Scholastic’s School Libraries Ambassador John Schumacher, author Holly Black and AASL President Leslie Preddy. At our Knickerbocker Dinner, honoring Patricia McCormick, the 2016 winner, we also recognized the work of State Senator Hugh Farley as a longtime dedicated ally of school librarians.
Future conference planning is well underway. The 2017 conference in Buffalo, chaired by Maria Muhlbauer and Tina Pierce, will have Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang as keynote. The 2018 conference in Long Island has a contract with the Long Island Hilton. Chairs Mary Charters and Jo Beth Roberts have been working with Jeremy Johannesen on this.
SSL’s thread in the NYS Council for the Social Studies’ conference was a great success for a second year, thanks in large part to Jill Leinung. This conference was held in Albany from March 31 – April 3. Our author panel included Steven Sheinkin, Lois Minor Huey and Jennifer Armstrong. SSL is working to ensure that we have a presence in conferences that are not centered on school librarianship but are logical partners. Examples are conferences for school boards or administrators. We hope to have an administrator thread in our own conference next year in Buffalo. Michelle Miller is working on that.
Monthly calls with NYSED and SSL leadership continue. Many thanks to John Brock and Monique Morgan, who remain focused on analysis and discussion of the SLMPE rubric. This will continue during a dedicated session during the summer.
We are looking forward toward our summer Leadership Institute. Planning has resulted in a strong program: “School Librarians: Getting Back to the Book,” led by Olga Nesi. We have restructured the board meeting to follow the Institute in an effort to condense the time spent on campus at Cornell and thus cut costs.
Many members of our organization are sharing professional development opportunities through social media. We are actively working to showcase strong programs and support each other through times of change in policies. Tara Thibault-Edmonds, school librarian and NYLA/SSL board member, and I will be working on the revision of NY State Standards this summer as part of panel groups led by NYSED.