For immediate release | November 15, 2011

AASL sponsors Gutierrez and Kelly as Emerging Leaders

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) will sponsor two participants in the American Library Association (ALA) 2012 Emerging Leaders (EL) program. The AASL-sponsored participants will join 75 of their peers as the fourth year of the program kicks off at the ALA 2012 Midwinter Meeting in Dallas.

Krystel Gutierrez of Smithville, Texas, and Jennifer “Charlie” Kelly of Rochester, N.Y., will participate in project planning workgroups; network with peers; gain an inside look into ALA structure and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity early in their careers. In sponsoring these two participants, AASL will defray the cost of attending the ALA 2012 Midwinter Meeting and the ALA 2012 Annual Conference.

Gutierrez, an elementary librarian at Smithville Elementary School in Smithville, Texas, graduated from the University of North Texas in 2009 with a master’s degree in library science. In her application to the program, she noted "I hope to broaden my experiences and to explore possible roles as a professional actively contributing to the library field. Exposure to all the ways in which librarians are changing the profession will energize me as a professional, and that inspiration will benefit my library, school and, most importantly, patrons." Gutierrez is highly involved in school committees, recently serving on the district’s social media policy committee to develop written guidelines regarding staff and student use of social media. In her letter of support for Guiterrez, Cheryl Burns, assistant superintendent of Smithville Independent School District, wrote “Krystel is an individual who has integrity, competitive spirit, and a love for learning. She is a person that numerous students enjoy being around and accomplish many goals under her direction. Krystel has utilized her technology skills to individualize instruction in her library and encourage new instructional strategies within the school.”

Kelly graduated from the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, in 2010 with a master’s degree in library science. She has worked most recently as the contract library media specialist substitute for the Rochester City School District in Roberto Clemente #8. While at Roberto Clemete #8, Kelly was the recipient of two grants which provided materials to the school: a $100 Funagain Grant to purchase games for the library and a $5,000 Laura Bush Foundation Grant securing updated materials for the library’s collection. She was also a recipient of the AASL Bound to Stay Bound Travel Grant, which allowed her to attend her first AASL National Conference and Exhibition recently held in Minneapolis. In describing why she applied to be an Emerging Leader, Kelly wrote, “As a school librarian, I need to have great interpersonal skills to help cultivate relationships and build trust with the community. I need to be my own advocate in the community and demonstrate the impact the school library media center has and how it is vital for the students’ learning. By participating in the Emerging Leaders program, I can continue my growing involvement in the field of librarianship at a greater level."

Following the kickoff session at ALA 2012 Midwinter Meeting, the EL program will grow and develop in an online learning and networking environment for six months, culminating with a poster session showcasing the results of the project planning work at the ALA 2012 Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif. Participants commit to taking part in all aspects of the program and may have an opportunity to serve on an ALA, division, chapter or round table committee or a taskforce or workgroup upon completion of program.

“AASL is proud to once again sponsor two Emerging Leaders,” said Carl Harvey, AASL president. “Part of AASL’s mission is to develop leaders in the school library field, and the Emerging Leaders program is a wonderful opportunity to nurture members new to the profession. We look forward to watching Krystel and Charlie grow as school librarians and working with them as they continue to empower students to be lifelong learners.”

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.


Jennifer Habley