For immediate release | July 26, 2011

Add to your AASL national conference experience by adding a preconference

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) 15th National Conference & Exhibition promises to help school librarians "turn the page" in their career with exciting preconference workshops geared toward school librarians and their programs. AASL's national conference will be held Oct. 27-30 in Minneapolis. Half- and full-day preconferences will take place on Oct. 26 and 27. More information is available at

“Preconference workshops, which are presented by outstanding practitioners, allow attendees to focus on a topic for an extended period-- either for a half or whole day,” explains Cheryl Steele, conference co-chair. “The committee's aim was to select preconferences which meet the needs of those who work at all levels of school library programs, library school educators and library district administrators.”

Full-day preconference workshops on Wednesday, Oct. 26, offer attendees the chance for more in-depth learning on critical topics affecting school librarians and an opportunity to collaborate and network. Presented by Doug Johnson, “All Aboard! Evaluate, Plan and Report to Build Library Support,” will teach attendees to develop and implement program evaluations that are not “long and torturous.” Johnson will also share insight on how to increase teacher, administrator and community support of school library programs with proactive and collaborative plans and reports.

Participants of “Books, E-ink and Databases, Oh My! Collection Development in the 21st Century” are encouraged to BYOL – bring your own laptop. Presented by Laura Pearle, Buffy Hamilton, Wendy Stephens, Angela Carstensen and Frances Harries, attendees will explore best practices in flipping the collection/renovating the space, collection development and future planning. At the end of the session, participants will walk away with a personalized toolkit that will enable them to become agents of change in their library communities.

The Educators of School Librarians Section (ESLS) of AASL invites those interested in research at either the university or K-12 level to join them as they present their second ESLS Research Symposium. Presented by Audrey Church, Gail Dickinson, Jody Howard and Shana Pribesh, attendees will explore data collection, statistical analysis and reporting while looking at the program assessment rubric. Attendees will leave the program with research questions practitioners can use to measure the effectiveness of their library programs.

Half-day workshops will be offered the Wednesday, Oct. 26, and Thursday, Oct. 27, before national conference. Christopher Harris and Brian Mayer, the authors of “Libraries Got Game,” will present two workshops on “Engaged Learning Through Curriculum Aligned Games.” The session on Wednesday will focus on the elementary level and the session on Thursday on the secondary level. Participants in these workshops will look at the best new board games that will engage students in curriculum aligned learning and how those games address the AASL learning standards as well as the Common Core Standards.

Helen Adams, Barbara Stripling, Dorcas Hand, Deborah Caldwell-Stone and Theresa Chmara will jointly present “Law for School Librarians: Protecting Students Intellectual Freedom in the Digital Age.” Topics to be covered include minors’ rights in school libraries, challenges to print and electronic resources, filtering, use of social technologies and privacy. Attendees will learn how the First Amendment, state and federal laws and judicial decisions affect the intellectual freedom of students using school libraries in the digital age.

The “Top 25 Websites for Teaching & Learning: Categories, Criteria and Collaborative Strategies” is a BYOL session. Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops in order to take an in-depth look at the 2011 Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning. Attendees will be actively involved in this fast-paced workshop, as the Best Websites Committee Skypes, tweets, surveys, organizes, creates, clicks, videos and has fun sharing which websites best support the AASL learning standards.

Explore the ideal school library setting in “Turning the Page on School Library Media Education” presented by Judi Repman and Gail Dickinson. This preconference will bring school library educators together to build a new model for school library preparation. Participants will look at ways to keep school library education relevant by looking at the exemplars embedded in AASL's learning standards and program guidelines.

Learn how to market your school library within your community with Margaux DelGuidice, Rose Luna and Sara Kelly Johns in “Making a Big Impact @ Your School Board Meeting: How to Get Your Message Out to Your School Community.” The presenters will share techniques to gain respect and funding by demonstrating your impact on student achievement using an evidenced based message.

Natasha Bergson-Michelson, Debbie Abilock and Jole Seroff will be on hand to present the BYOL session, “Power Searching: Demystifying Popular Search Engines and Getting Quality Research from Everyday Tools.” Attendees of this session will gain confidence and competence in utilizing search engines as they click along on their laptops with the presenters. Attendees will learn what commands will transform a strong searcher into a masterful one.

“Rise to the Challenge: Creating a High-Stakes Graduation Project Program to Demonstrate Excellence in Information Literacy and Independent Learning” will engage participants in creating a graduation project in any school setting. Presenters Michelle Fossum and Linda Savido will cover topics including engaging students in topic selection, pursuing independent research and gaining community interest in their action projects.

Participants will learn to create powerful wikis that support instruction and increase productivity with Lisa Perez in “Taking Wikis to the Next Level: Create Attractive & Functional Wikis to Support Student Learning.” In this BYOL session, Perez will cover some of the more advanced wiki features such as widgets, graphics and navigation design. Attendees will also learn how to leverage wikis as assessment tools, promote international collaboration and enhance the research process.

With limited space, national conference-goers are encouraged to reserve their spot at one of the many exciting preconferences early. More information on these sessions and how to register can be found on the national conference website at

The AASL 15th National Conference and Exhibition, "Turning the Page," is the only national conference dedicated solely to the needs of school librarians and their roles as educational leaders. Taking place in Oct. 27-30 in Minneapolis, the AASL National Conference will feature preconferences, numerous concurrent sessions, more than 200 exhibiting companies, educational and school tours, a storytelling festival and special appearances by award-winning authors. The deadline for "early bird" discounted registration is Aug.4. For more information or to register, visit

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.