Contact: Melissa B. Jones

AASL Communications Specialist

(312) 280-4381


For Immediate Release

July 15, 2008

L4L to help AASL learning standards gain national recognition

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) Board of Directors approved the development of Learning 4 Life (L4L).

L4L is a 3-5–year plan to nationally implement the "Standards for the 21st-Century Learner" and other guidelines being developed for school library media programs.

The plan was approved during the American Library Association's (ALA) 2008 Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif. A full launch of L4L is scheduled for fall 2008.

Upon completion, L4L will increase awareness and understanding of the learning standards and a committed group of stakeholders—decision-makers, educators, parents, students and the public—with a shared voice. While the goal is to gain implementation of the learning standards at the national level, L4L will allow learning standards to be customized for local and/or state conditions, as well as to the increasingly multicultural makeup of U.S. schools.

Susan Ballard, chair of the task force responsible for creating L4L, said, "AASL is enthusiastically engaged with the development of suggestions and strategies to ensure that school library media programs and school library media specialists will have a wide variety of resources with which to implement the new learning standards and program guidelines. Face-to-face and virtual training opportunities are being planned; examples of best practice are being collected for access; and national, regional and local professional learning communities are being developed to provide opportunities for dialog and discussion about what works. We are actively seeking the participation of some of the country's finest practitioners, both in school libraries and the greater education community, to help facilitate and guide efforts."

The "Standards for the 21st-Century Learner" advocates that school library media specialists play an important role in preparing students to compete in a global community. L4L uses the number four to echo and reinforce the four standards, which are to:

  1. Inquire, think critically and gain knowledge.
  2. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations and create new knowledge.
  3. Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
  4. Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.

The learning standards can be downloaded at

AASL president Ann M. Martin says, "Our students must be learners for life in order to adapt and master change in the 21st century. Inquiry, problem solving, critical thinking, making informed decisions, creating new knowledge and love of reading direct students to higher levels of learning, creativity and self assessment in mastering the multiple literacies that create successful 21st-century learners."

The American Association of School Librarians,, 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.