For immediate release | June 7, 2017

ALA Annual Conference panel highlights partnerships to extend school library support

CHICAGO – Every school library advocate has a unique story to share about how they developed and grew partnerships. A special panel during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago will bring together three library professionals to discuss the partnerships they formed to extend the base of support for school library programs beyond school librarians. This panel builds on the goal of AASL/ALA’s recent Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) trainings: to create new or strengthen existing relationships in the community. “Partnerships to Strengthen School Libraries,” will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Sun., June 25, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick in Burnham/CC 23A-C. All conference registrants are invited to attend.

The panel will be facilitated by AASL President Audrey Church, professor of school librarianship at Longwood University. Panelists include:

  • Cynthia Czesak, Paterson Public Library director and New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) legislative chair, who will share how the long-standing partnership between NJLA and the New Jersey Association of School Librarians took on an increased level of urgency to ensure that all school children in New Jersey have access to effective school library programs with the passage of ESSA.
  • Kelly Miller, librarian and school library coordinator for Virginia Beach City Public Schools and President of the Virginia Association of School Librarians (VASL), who will describe how VASL and the Virginia Library Association joined forces to respond when an objection to a single book in one high school’s curriculum became the launching point for a massive effort to censor books in Virginia schools.
  • Nora Wiltse, Chicago Public Schools librarian and co-chair of the Chicago Teachers Union’s Chicago School Librarians committee, who will share how a change in budgeting led to a precipitous decline in school library positions and how it led dedicated Chicago school librarians to partner with the Chicago Teachers Union to include librarians in the larger conversation around what resources Chicago schoolchildren need to be successful.

The panel is co-sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Library Advocacy and Chapter Relations Office and kicks off a joint effort to continue to build a strong basis of support for school libraries at the state and local level.

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)