AASL adopts new Strategic Plan

Contact: Kathy Agarwal

Communications Specialist



For Immediate Release

August 1, 2005

AASL adopts new Strategic Plan

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), adopted a new Strategic Plan at its Board of Directors meeting on June 26, 2005, during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

The Strategic Plan addresses the need for providing leadership for excellence in the school library profession and school library programs, which is the core purpose of the association. It sets an ambitious agenda for AASL to achieve universal recognition of school library media specialists as indispensable educational leaders.

“The new Strategic Plan supplies a blueprint for focusing the programs and services we provide to school library media professionals,” said J. Linda Williams, AASL President for 2005-2006. .

The AASL Strategic Plan addresses five goal areas for the association to fulfill its purpose. The first is “Guidelines and Standards,” which emphasizes the importance of AASL’s guidelines for school library media programs and information literacy standards for student learning as the model of excellence for the school library media profession. The main objectives for this goal are to increase the currency and relevancy of AASL’s guidelines and standards, reviewing and revising as necessary.

“Advocacy” is the second goal area of the Strategic Plan and it aims to educate all stakeholders to understand and recognize that the school library media specialist and school library programs are essential to teaching and learning. Advocacy efforts will be carried out on a national, state and local level, with AASL providing support and education to members who will carry out the mission.

The next goal area within the AASL Strategic Plan is providing “Professional Development” opportunities that will be important, valuable and available to school library media specialists. The main objective is to increase the link between actual member needs, as communicated through surveys and other feedback methods, and the professional development programming being planned and offered through the association. Increasing financial viability of the programs offered is an important component of the efforts, as is increasing the number and frequency of those opportunities.

AASL’s fourth goal, “Influence within ALA,” aims for a greater awareness and support of the issues important to school library media specialists within the ALA organization, its leadership and its programs and services. Since AASL is part of the larger library community of ALA, this goal articulates the importance of increasing AASL member involvement in ALA committees and leadership roles, and also of raising the profile of school library media issues within the larger association.

The final goal area of the new AASL Strategic Plan deals with issues of “Community.” AASL strives to be a vibrant, inclusive, accessible and supportive community for school library media specialists, and strong efforts will be made to increase member involvement in the association’s activities. Another component of this goal is to reach out to non-member school library media specialists and educate them about the value of AASL and to promote and grow AASL membership.

The AASL strategic planning process began in 2004 and involved several days of face-to-face meetings with, at various times, the Board of Directors, Regional Directors-Elect and AASL staff. Other components of the planning process included feedback from members and affiliate leaders, through two member surveys and several member focus groups, such as member forums at state affiliate conferences.

“Responding to what our members are telling us is a major focus area,” said J. Linda Williams. “It is essential as we strategically plan our initiatives and activities to communicate the vital role of library media specialists as educators who increase student achievement.”

As another part of the planning process, AASL will examine the existing organizational structure to determine whether it adequately supports carrying out the provisions of the Strategic Plan. For more information about the Strategic Plan go to

The American Association of School Librarians <www.ala.org/aasl&gt;, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library media 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 media field.