President's Page

aasl board president

Mary Keeling

AASL President 2019 - 2020

Library Services Supervisor
Newport News (Va.) Public Schools

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

—Margaret Mead

School librarians change the world daily for the young people and educators in our schools. We lead our learning communities as we collaborate with educators, create equitable learning spaces, and engage learners in multiple forms of literacy and innovation. Our situations vary, but all of us want the best for the learning communities we serve. In all our efforts we advocate for our learners.

As we work to make our learning communities better, we draw strength and inspiration from other school library colleagues. AASL is the only national professional membership organization focused entirely on school librarians. With more than 7,000 members in the United States, Canada, and around the world, AASL is the perfect place to find YOUR support network. AASL offers community, a platform for learning together, and opportunities to shine the light on innovative and standards-driven practice and develop expertise and relationships through collaboration on all kinds of projects.

We have an exciting year ahead, with a national conference, a new partnership with administrator colleagues, and a new strategic plan! Our national conference in Louisville, Kentucky, promises to be an outstanding opportunity to learn from colleagues who are implementing AASL’s National School Library Standards. We have also embarked on a two-year effort to deepen AASL’s relationship with school administrators. With support from OverDrive Education, AASL is launching the “AASL School Leader Collaborative: Administrators & School Librarians Transforming Teaching and Learning.” Through sustained dialog with the seven administrators selected for this project, we expect to deepen administrator understanding of the impact of strong school libraries as we deepen school librarian understanding of the roles, needs, and expectations of educational leaders.

The AASL Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan at ALA Annual in June 2019 in Washington, D.C. Through AASL’s new strategic plan we embrace the vision that “Every school librarian is a leader; every learner has a school librarian.” One of the core values affirmed by our strategic plan is Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. My presidential initiative will work within ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services’ strategic directions to provide professional learning opportunities that address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, such as understanding and addressing unconscious bias, power dynamics, microaggressions, white privilege, and other topics (EDI Implementation Plan 2017, Strategy 1, 9). I’m excited that a core group of member leaders will be working with me on this effort.

As we develop action steps to achieve the goals of the strategic plan, we expect to mobilize additional task forces to tackle specific initiatives. Won’t you join us? Please use the Get Involved form to indicate your interest in working on a committee or task force, blogging for the Knowledge Quest website, or writing for Knowledge Quest. I’m excited about the opportunities ahead and hope you will join me in working to make our corner of the world a better place.