January/February 2012 Issue

Insights from Leaders in the School Library Community

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) presents 30 Second Thought Leadership: Insights from Leaders in the School Library Community, a new video podcast series delivering brief and practical advice from respected school library leaders on important questions about school libraries today and in the future. Questions are based on the themes of Knowledge Quest issues. 

Want to share your thoughts?  Be sure to leave a comment below!

Q: Are school librarians an endangered species?

Henry Jenkins is the Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He is the author and/or editor of twelve books on various aspects of media and popular culture, and is currently co-authoring a book on "spreadable media" with Sam Ford and Joshua Green. He has written for Technology Review, Computer Games, Salon, and The Huffington Post. Jenkins is also the principal investigator for Project New Media Literacies (NML), a group which originated as part of the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Initiative. Jenkins also plays a significant role as a public advocate for fans, gamers and bloggers. Visit his website at henryjenkins.org.


Doug Johnson has been the director of media and technology, Mankato Area Public Schools, Mankato, MN since 1991 and has served as an adjunct faculty member of Minnesota State University since 1990. His teaching experience has included work in grades K-12 both here and in Saudi Arabia. He is the author of six books including the forthcoming The Classroom Teachers Survival Guide to Technology. His long-running column “Head for the Edge” appears in Library Media Connection. Doug’s Blue Skunk Blog averages over 50,000 visits a month, and his articles have appeared in over forty books and periodicals. Doug has conducted workshops and given presentations for over 160 organizations throughout the United States and internationally and has held a variety of leadership positions in state and national organizations, including ISTE and AASL. For more about Doug visit his website at http://www.doug-johnson.com.


Michelle Luhtala is the department chair of the New Canaan (CT) High School library, which won AASL’s 2010 National School Library Program of the Year Award. She is an AASL board member, serves on the Connecticut Digital Library Advisory Board, and is cochair of the CoSN Awards Committee. At edWeb.net she facilitates Using Emerging Technology to Improve Your Library Program (a 2,700+ member online professional learning community for school librarians), where she presents monthly webinars.  She is an advocate for free-range media and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in K–12 learning. Michelle is also one of the 10 recipients of the 2011 Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times/ALA I Love My Librarian award. She blogs about this and other innovative educational practices. You can also find her on Twitter @mluhtala.


Heather Moorefield-Lang is the education and applied social sciences librarian at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA.. She is the current chair of the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee. The focus of her work is on technology in libraries and arts in libraries. To read more of her work, see her website at www.actinginthelibrary.com.              


Delia Neuman is an associate professor and the director of the SLiM (School Library Media) Program at Drexel University’s iSchool, where she is also the Project Director for a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to recruit, educate, and place ten new librarians in the Philadelphia public schools.  She is the author of some 180 publications and presentations—most recently the work on learning in information-rich environments cited in the reference list.  She was the writer for Information Power:  Building Partnerships for Learning and a recipient of ALA’s Carroll Preston Baber Research Award.


What do you think?  Are school librarians an endangered species?  Leave your comments below.