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Contact: Kathy Agarwal
Communications Specialist
(312) 280-4381
For Immediate Release
October 23, 2007

"Standards for the 21st-Century Learner" to launch during AASL National Conference

ImageCHICAGO - Eagerly anticipated by the school library media community, "Standards for the 21st-Century Learner" will officially launch during the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) 13th National Conference & Exhibition in Reno, Nev. During the Opening General Session, at 3:30-5:30 p.m., on Thursday, AASL president Sara Kelly Johns will unveil the highly awaited publication, and all attendees will receive a free copy.

"The new standards were developed by some of the best minds in the school library field," Johns said. "AASL hopes that these standards will provide a foundation for a strong library media program in every school, where our students will research expertly, think critically, problem-solve well, read enthusiastically and use information ethically. Our students will succeed."

Early in 2006, acting in accordance with the AASL strategic plan, the AASL Board of Directors voted to establish the Learning Standards Rewrite Task Force, whose charge was to develop new AASL standards for student learning in the 21st Century. The task force included co-chairs Cassandra Barnett and Gail Dickinson, Eugene Hainer, Melissa Johnston, Marcia Mardis and Barbara Stripling.

"The new AASL 'Standards for the 21st-Century Learner' are both a reflection of the current landscape and a vision for the future," said Gail K. Dickinson, task force co-chair. "Good standards have to be practical enough to teach today but flexible enough to be able to teach tomorrow."

The task force began with an intensive face-to-face meeting last September and worked virtually and during conferences over the next several months. To ensure that the new standards reflect the best of our thinking as a profession, the task force gathered input and feedback from the membership and other library media professionals throughout the whole process. Drafts were posted on the Web site for comment, AASL held an open forum for discussion of the draft during the 2007 Midwinter Meeting and a wiki was utilized for further input from the field.

"I am most proud of the process that we followed in developing the new standards. The team worked well together, and the process was transparent. We did our best to open it up to the membership, and they responded with great enthusiasm," noted Cassandra Barnett, task force co-chair. "I believe I speak for the whole task force expressing my pride in the final product and hope that the new standards will go a long way in helping students and school library media specialists become 21st-century learners."

The "Standards for the 21st-Century Learner" will be distributed to all attendees during the Opening General Session in Reno on Thursday. A complimentary PDF version will also be available on the AASL Web site starting Oct. 25 ( For those wishing to purchase multiple copies of the standards, they will be available through the ALA Online Store starting on Friday, Oct. 26.

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library media services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library media field.



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