For immediate release | June 3, 2010

AASL to bring school librarians an online, interactive planning and advocacy tool in August 2010

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has joined with Britannica Digital Learning to co-publish an online, interactive school library program planning module that will change school library program development and implementation, saving time and delivering data.

"A Planning Guide for Empowering Learners" is a program evaluation, planning, implementation and advocacy tool that will ensure school library program planners go beyond the basics to provide goals, priorities, criteria and general principles for establishing effective library programs. The guide includes a revised "School Library Program Rubric," a tool that allows school librarians to assess their programs on 16 different sets of criteria.

"While we work in a continually changing educational environment, the need for careful planning to implement program guidelines remains," said AASL president Cassandra Barnett. "This is an essential tool, allowing school librarians to remain flexible and collaborative, while ensuring they develop ambitious, but measurable and attainable goals. Being able to easily share your program's progress in a graphical format is outstanding. This module has the ability to be a game-changer for schools and districts that actively use it."

The sequential planning steps outlined will direct planners' efforts to evaluate the existing program, involve stakeholders in the program planning process, align the library program mission with that of the school or district develop action plans with measurable goals and objectives and chart implementation progress. The module allows planners to save and edit their program plans, ultimately producing worksheets, charts and graphs that school librarians can share with stakeholders in advocating for the school library program.

The assessment rubric reflects the current principles guiding school library programs outlined in "Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs." The rubric is designed to assist school librarians in developing a program that achieves the mission to "empower students to be critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers and ethical users of information.

"We are delighted to partner with AASL to launch this guide as an interactive, online module," said Michael Ross, senior vice president at Britannica and general manager of Britannica Digital Learning. "The Planning Guide module will strengthen education through the development of critical thinking and research skills and will also promote school library media advocacy and leadership."

Britannica Digital Learning is a division of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. a leader in education publishing whose products can be found in many media, from the Internet to wireless devices to books. A pioneer in electronic publishing since the early 1980s, the company markets a variety of encyclopedias and other reference works, curriculum products for schools, language-study courses and other learning products, many of which are available online at Britannica is active on Twitter and Facebook. The company makes its headquarters in Chicago.

"A Planning Guide for Empowering Learners" provides another tool for Learning4Life (L4L),, the American Association of School Librarians' national implementation plan created to support states, school systems, and individual schools preparing to implement the AASL "Standards for the 21st-Century Learner" and "Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs."

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library 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 field.


Melissa Jacobsen