AASL National Conference school tours offer fresh ideas and innovative solutions

Contact: Kathy Agarwal
Communications Specialist
For Immediate Release
July 31, 2007

AASL National Conference school tours offer fresh

ideas and innovative solutions

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) 13th National Conference & Exhibition in Reno, Nev., will offer four school tours with separate focus on rural, elementary, independent and public schools. Planned as full or half-day excursions on Wednesday, October 24, and Thursday, October 25, 2007, the school tours will showcase examples of excellence in wide range of school library media programs.

“School tours are an excellent way to learn about and experience first-hand the innovative best practices of our fellow school library media specialists,” said Allison G. Kaplan, AASL National Conference Committee co-chair. “They are a sure draw at every AASL National Conference.”

Tour 1 will take place on Wednesday, October 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This all-day school tour will showcase rural schools – two elementary and one middle/high school – that serve Native American and rural students. The first stop will be Natchez Elementary school in Wadsworth, Nev., which serves the needs of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation and faces many unique challenges. From there the tour continues to Johnson Elementary, with 40 students and Gerlach Middle/High School, with 80 students, where library media specialists will tackle the challenges of small populations. Gerlach High School is also a public joint-use library connecting the outside world with this small, rural town. Registration for this full-day tour including lunch at the oasis outpost Bruno’s, famous for its homemade ravioli and local color is $75.

Tour 2 will take place on Wednesday, October 24, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., and is geared toward elementary school library media specialists. The visit will begin with the unique Verdi Community Library and Nature Center, which serves as a school library during the day (for the Verdi Elementary School), a public library after school (as the Washoe County Public Library) and the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s-Western Region education site on weekends throughout the year. The Verdi Library is the only library in the state that is shared by three partners; drawing upon one another’s expertise and resources to strengthen each of their programs. This tour will also visit Bernice Mathews Elementary, a year-round Title I school with a student enrollment of 820. Eighty-five percent of the students are on the free or reduced lunch program. Registration for this tour is $45.

Tour 3 will showcase independent schools. The tour will take place on Thursday morning, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., and start with the Bishop Manogue Catholic High School. The school’s brand-new library media center was built in 2004 and addresses the needs of a small parochial population. The second school featured on this tour will be Sage Ridge School – a private college preparatory school with one library media specialist serving grades 5 through 12. Sage Ridge opened in 1998, has 205 students and boasts higher-than-average SAT scores. Registration for this tour is $45.

Tour 4 will take place on Wednesday afternoon, October 24, from 12:30 to 4:30, and will visit two new schools and their innovative new programs. Two-year-old Shaw Middle School has a library media center with one full-time librarian and a part-time assistant who use inquiry-based learning in a collaborative environment. Sepulveda Elementary School opened in July 2006. One library media specialist reaches 650 students with unique programs, including a strategies program for autistic students, as well as Earobics and Accelerated Reader. Registration for this tour is $45.

Online registration for the AASL National Conference and the school tours is now open. Visit http://www.ala.org/aasl/reno for details. In addition to the school tours, the AASL 13th National Conference will feature three full-day and five half-day preconference workshops with more than 100 concurrent sessions and over 200 exhibiting companies, as well as educational tours and special appearances by many award-winning children’s and young adult authors.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, 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.