For immediate release | September 3, 2013

Sylvia Knight Norton named AASL executive director

CHICAGO — Sylvia Knight Norton is the new executive director of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), effective Sept. 30, 2013. Sylvia K. Norton comes to AASL/ALA from the College of Communication and Information, School of Library and Information Studies, Florida State University, where she has been school library media internship coordinator and instructor. During this period, she also served as state E-Rate coordinator, Florida Department of Management Services (2011-2012).

Sylvia brings strong state and local experience to the Association. From March 2002 to September 2010, she was the school library, technology planning and E-rate coordinator, Maine Department of Education, where she planned, developed and advocated for statewide programs and professional development to enhance teaching and learning through instructional technology and school library programs. In that capacity, she was involved in a broad range of programs related to school libraries, from technology implementation to school library construction and to the development of standards.

In earlier positions, Sylvia Norton was school library technologist at the Maine State Library (2001-2002) and a school librarian at Freeport High School (Maine). She also held several positions in health sciences librarianship.

Sylvia also brings extensive leadership experience within ALA and other professional associations. Since 2011, she has been a member of the ALA Executive Board, in which capacity she also served as a member of the ALA Budget Analysis and Review Committee and the Board’s Finance and Audit Committee. She served on the ALA Council from 2005, when she was elected a Councilor-at-Large. She served twice on the AASL Board of Directors, from 2002-2005 representing the New England region and from 2006-2011 as the AASL Councilor. Throughout this time, she has served on numerous committees and task forces. In addition, Sylvia was active at the state level. She served as president of the New England School Library Association (2001-2002) and president of the Maine Association of School Libraries (1997-1998), among many other roles.

Active in her local community as well as her professional community, Sylvia has been a school board member. She has also served as a public library trustee.

Sylvia was a frequent presenter at conferences and contributed to many publications. Most recently she authored “Technology Planning: Designing the Direction to Get There,” in Knowledge Quest, 42 (1) 2013.

She was honored with Lifetime Membership to the Maine Association of School Libraries (2007) in recognition of her leadership. She was elected to the Hall of Fame of the New England School Library Association in 2008 for her significant contributions. In 2010-2011, she received a PALM (Partnership Advancing Library Media) Research Center, Florida State University, Doctoral Fellowship.

Sylvia Norton has a BA in English from University of Maine (Orono), a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Simmons College and a Master of Public Administration from University of Maine (Orono). She completed doctoral studies in Educational Leadership (University of Maine) and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Library and Information Studies (Florida State University).

AASL is a division of the American Library Association. AASL’s mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change, and develop leaders in the school library field. AASL provides continuing education (including a biennial national conference , biennial forum and electronic courses), publications (including a regular journal, Knowledge Quest, and an online research journal, School Library Research, as well as books and other resources), advocacy, research, service awards and a wide array of leadership opportunities. AASL also developed and administers a major grant to the ALA/AASL – the Beyond Words grant from the Dollar General Foundation.

Thanks go to search committee members Gail Dickinson (president, AASL), Susan D. Ballard (immediate past president, AASL), Mary Ellen Davis (executive director, ACRL), Michelle Harrell Washington (director, Office for Diversity/OLOS), Marci Merola (director, Office for Library Advocacy), Mary Ghikas (senior associate executive director, ALA) and Cynthia Vivian (director, HR) for a successful search. Thanks also go to Allison Cline (deputy executive director, AASL) for her leadership as interim executive director and to all the staff of AASL for their work and for their support of the search process.


Steve Zalusky

Manager of Communications

American Library Association

Public Information Office (PIO)