Your Voice, Your Standards!

For the first time in decades AASL is using a multi-layered survey, data, and research approach to revise and remodel the learning standards and program guidelines of your profession. To ensure the standards meet the needs of the entire community, this research centers on community consultation—you are the foundation of our work! Visit the FAQ section for more information on the research process, key findings, and next steps. 

Overview  |  Project Plan Milestones  |  Frequently Asked Questions



The evaluation, revision, and remodeling of AASL’s learning standards and program guidelines is a critically important project to both the association and the profession. Built on a strong history of standards and guidelines published by AASL, the next iteration should be transformative and reimagine the roles of school library programs and school librarians in the educational environment.

The current series of learning standards and program guidelines documents include:

In March 2015, a seven-member editorial board began meeting with KRC Research, a firm AASL contracted to help assess the opinion landscape related to AASL’s learning standards and program guidelines. The intention is to involve as many voices as possible in the information-gathering phases to ensure all factions of the school library world are heard.

Research concluded in June 2016, and consisted of an online survey open to all school library professionals followed by a series of focus groups to further explore key findings. The editorial board is currently leveraging this research to inform their work as they rewrite and remodel the standards and guidelines. AASL has published a summary report pdf icon of these key findings.

In addition, an implementation task force began work in September 2015. This group is working parallel to the editorial board in an effort to provide tools and resources to assist with training and implementation immediately upon release of the new documents in the fall of 2017.

Project Plan Milestones

  Project Kick-off Mar 2015
  Online Survey Aug - Sep 2015
  Focus Groups (AASL National Conference) Nov 2015
 X  Focus Groups (Affiliates & Stakeholders) Feb - May 2016
  Analysis of Findings Jun - Aug 2016
  Research Summary Sep 2016
 X Drafting Standards/Implementation Plan Jul - Dec 2016
  Production (editing/layout) Jan - Sep 2017
  Developing Implementation Tools Jan - Sep 2017
  Launch New Standards/Implementation Fall 2017


Frequently Asked Questions

When will the new learning standards and program guidelines be released?

At the 2017 AASL National Conference & Exhibition in Phoenix, Arizona, the new learning standards and program guidelines will launch with implementation resources and professional development sessions.

Who conducted this research?

To conduct the research and to ensure the confidentiality of your remarks, AASL partnered with KRC Research, an independent research firm based in Washington, DC.

The AASL editorial board, which is guiding the evaluation, revision, and remodeling process, is using this research to help inform their work in updating the standards and guidelines.

How can I participate in the research phase?

The research phase concluded in June 2016. Feedback and experiences gathered from participants during this research have provided the editorial board with valuable insights. As AASL moves forward drafting your new standards and their implementation plan, progress reports and additional opportunities to inform the work will be shared through regular AASL channels

Where were focus groups held?

The first phase of six focus groups was held during the AASL 17th National Conference & Exhibition in November 2015. The second phase of 14 focus groups was conducted at AASL Affiliate state conferences from February–May 2016.

States were selected based on a number of criteria and included: Alaska, California, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Focus groups consisted of no more than 8 participants each.  AASL heard from approximately 150 focus group participants total. Careful consideration was given to demographic spreads while working with state leadership to select participants for these discussions. 

Will AASL share its research with the profession?

Yes. An infographic was developed to share several high-level findings from the online survey that was conducted in September 2015. An executive summary pdf icon of the combined key findings from the online survey and subsequent focus group research is also available.

AASL is committed to keeping its membership, school library professionals, and the education community informed as we work to rewrite/revise the AASL learning standards and program guidelines. AASL will share progress reports through press releases, e-mails to membership, Knowledge Quest blog posts, the KQ Express e-newsletter, and other vehicles as we reach key milestone points throughout the project.

What are the next steps for the standards revision project?

Data collected during the research phase is already being considered and reflected in the work of the editorial board rewriting the standards and guidelines. A task force working in parallel to the editorial board is responsible for developing an implementation plan that builds awareness, understanding, and commitment within the school library profession and stakeholder communities. The intent is for resources and assistance to be available simultaneously with the launch of the new standards documents in the fall of 2017.

Drafted manuscripts will move into copy editing, layout, and production in January–September 2017. During this time the editorial board and task force will also be working together to develop professional development and resources to support school librarians during the launch of the new standards.

I just recently completed, or have plans to begin, a correlation of our state/district standards with AASL’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner. What do I do now?

Continue with the material you have created or with the work plan you have started. The current AASL standards will not “go away” with the release of new standards. As with each iteration of the learning standards there will be carry-forward elements. The previous version will not be considered wrong or incorrect. Additionally, having already received support for the correlation will increase your odds of future support for ongoing revisions when new standards are released.

How will AASL transition to the new standards and guidelines for national projects and programming?

Once the new learning standards and program guidelines are released there will be no additional print runs of the current publications, and within a two-year time span areas such as award applications and program proposals for conference will be reviewed using a rubric aligned to the new standards. 

AASL’s project plan for the implementation of the new standards is a two year process, and so while the launch will occur in fall 2017 with initial implementation resources and professional development, there will be a two year progression to develop the association’s full catalog of implementation assistance materials.

Additional questions?

If you have questions specifically regarding the survey or the focus groups research, you can email AASL at, or contact Karin Cantrell of KRC Research directly at

All other questions about the revision process can be addressed to AASL at 312-280-4382 or