Using brand behavior to elevate the school library

For Immediate Release
Thu, 09/14/2023


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing & Media

American Library Association


CHICAGO —Branding isn't just for celebrities and corporations. Published by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and ALA Editions, “Elevating the School Library: Building Positive Perceptions through Brand Behavior” by Susan D. Ballard and Sara Kelly Johns shows how school librarians can raise and deepen positive perceptions of school libraries through developing a brand in alignment with the AASL Standards. The concept of branding is a powerful tool for articulating and reinforcing the value and importance of the school library. It’s also an effective way to better define and delineate to stakeholders who school librarians are and why having a school librarian matters. Complete with a list of guiding questions at the end of each chapter to help you put its concepts into practice, this book:

  • includes templates, checklists, and worksheets to assist you in undertaking school library branding, a rebrand, or a brand rehabilitation;
  • offers concrete guidance and techniques for engaging effectively with your community by creating a strategic communications plan;
  • walks you through incorporating the use of data and community demographics analysis to improve your practice and thus increase positive perceptions of the impact of your work;
  • shows how to use existing AASL personas as well as how to develop additional learner personas (such as trauma-sensitive, special groups and non-users) through a brand audit;
  • presents a focused exploration of brand behavior, emphasizing the impact, influence, and integrity of brand credibility;
  • sheds light on the importance of the "business" aspects of the school library; and
  • spotlights successful and unsuccessful examples of branding from the realm of both business and libraries, connecting them to the AASL Standards.

A former Director of Library, Media and Technology, Ballard guided her district to AASL National School Library of the Year Award recognition. She has served as an adjunct professor and lecturer in various school librarian preparation programs, published numerous articles in professional and scholarly journals, and edited and contributed to several books. A Past-President of AASL, the New Hampshire School Library Media Association, and the New England School Library Association, Susan served on the Standards and Guidelines Editorial Board for the AASL Standards. Johns, an online instructor at the Syracuse University iSchool and a long-time school librarian, is a past president of AASL, the New York Library Association (NYLA), and the Section of School Librarians of NYLA. She received the NYLA Lifetime Achievement Award and the first AASL Social Media Superstar Advocacy Ambassador Award. Active in ALA Council and ALA committees, Johns was a member of the Implementation Task Force for the AASL Standards. She has written articles for several school library publications and contributed chapters for various books.

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

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library and information professionals worldwide. ALA Editions | Neal-Schuman publishes resources used by library and information professionals, scholars, students, and educators to improve programs and services, build on best practices, enhance pedagogy, share research, develop leadership, and promote advocacy. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a variety of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions | Neal-Schuman at