AASL National School Library Standards guide national conference learning

For Immediate Release
Mon, 11/25/2019


Macey Morales

Deputy Director

Communications and Marketing Office



LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – The 2019 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) National Conference, Nov. 14 – 16, at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Kentucky has come to a close, with more than 2,500 registered attendees empowered with educational resources to strengthen, diversify, and transform teaching and learning in schools across the country. 

The event brought together school librarians, administrators, authors and exhibitors at the only national conference dedicated solely to the needs of school librarians. Attendees participated in preconference workshops, author events, and more than 150 concurrent sessions that focused on common beliefs central to the school library profession, such as research, literacy, advocacy, and diversity. AASL’s National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries influenced all conference programing.

“In education, standards are essential to our mission of transforming teaching and learning,” said AASL President Mary Keeling. “AASL19 provided a unique opportunity for school librarians to learn how to apply national standards to core activities and instruction. As our colleagues return with new skills in hand, I would like to thank our sponsors for their generous support, the thoughtful work of conference committee volunteers and our dedicated staff. Thank you, all, for making this fantastic learning experience possible.” 

During preconference events, attendees took advantage of the opportunity to meet with and learn from Louisville-area school librarians. Tour sites included K-12 private and public school libraries that excel in providing students with innovative resources and instruction that enhance academic achievement and lifelong learning.  

At the opening general session, attendees heard from Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Dr. Martin Pollio who talked about the importance of school libraries in education and proudly that 100 percent of schools in JCPS have a full-time, certified school librarian. His comments kicked off a conference that saw almost 200 administrators learning side by side with their school librarians via a complimentary registration. The administrators participated in a special session to examine the role of school librarians in teaching and learning as well as the support needed from administrators for school librarian leadership. Administrators also attended concurrent sessions and reflected on what they learned during the closing general session.

During the Thursday opening general session, We Need Diverse Books co-founder Ellen Oh discussed the dire need for materials that mirrored every member of the student body. Oh delivered remarks that were very personal, heartfelt and dynamic. Audience members left feeling uplifted and validated being reminded that the school library is an equalizer and safe haven. Providing school library materials that reflect their school communities is critical. The absence of multicultural and LGBTQ+ books leads to cultural invisibility and unintentionally marginalize underrepresented communities.    

American urban and rural school educator, author and research scientist Dr. Adolph Brown, III,  traveled the convention center incognito prior to keynoting the Friday session. Dressed in clothing that some view as hip-hop attire, Brown walked the halls of the convention center to gauge school librarians’ implicit bias. During the session he discussed how he was pleasantly surprised that attendees approached him instead of looking the other way. Brown then further discussed how implicit bias and stereotypes have a profound impact on academic achievement. 

New York Times bestselling author, Children’s Choice Book Award recipient and Eisner award nominee Jarrett J. Krosoczka headlined the Saturday general session. Krosoczka emphasized the power school librarians have of placing the right book into learner’s hands. He shared that an author visit for his recent book “Hey, Kiddo” was cancelled due to ‘inappropriate’ subject matter. “Hey, Kiddo” tells the story of how Krosoczka was raised by his grandparents because he had an absentee father and drug-addicted, incarcerated mother. He shared that while one parent might view the content in the book as inappropriate, there’s a student in a school who can benefit because they are experiencing an “inappropriate” life. 

Reporters from Publishers Weekly, American Libraries and School Library Journal were onsite and provided conference coverage. AASL President Mary Keeling also participated in an interview with Louisville’s NPR Affiliate WFPL. Keeling spoke with Morning Edition host & producer Bill Burton for a news segment that aired Thursday, Nov. 14. 

Additional information regarding the 2019 AASL National Conference is available at national.aasl.org.
The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.