Nation’s largest school librarian conference draws record-breaking attendance

Contact: Jennifer Petersen / Macey Morales

AASL Media Relations

630-779-1509 / 312-280-5043


For Immediate Release

November 9, 2009

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A record breaking 3,950 school librarians, educators, exhibitors and guests attended the American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) 14th National Conference in Charlotte Nov. 5 – 8, to discuss key issues that impact our nation’s school libraries. Dedicated solely to the needs of school library media specialists, the AASL National Conference is the largest gathering of school librarians in the nation.

“The conference has given thousands of school librarians the opportunity to share strategies and best practices in the teaching and learning process,” said AASL president Cassandra Barnett. “Charlotte has provided us with a national platform to discuss the needs of our increasingly tech-savvy students and the future of the 21st century learner.”

The conference featured two full-day and five half-day preconference workshops, several school and educational tours, more than 100 top-quality continuing education programs, author events and more than 200 exhibiting companies.

The conference began with a variety of preconferences that addressed new technologies, gaming and best practices for using 21st century learning skills. In addition, a variety of local tours showcasing sites in and around Charlotte were offered, as well as school tours for attendees interested in new ideas from some of the great library media programs featured.

Social media expert and researcher danah boyd served as the keynote speaker for the conference's Opening General Session. As an expert on online social network sites, the interdisciplinary research related to technology, communication, identity and social behavior, boyd helped attendees to understand how young people see and utilize social networking sites. “When you make sense of the world as it changes, you can help them make sense of it,” said boyd.

Best-selling author and school library advocate James Patterson was the keynote speaker at a Special Author Session called “Turbocharge Your Day with James Patterson! – Read Kiddo Read!

Parents and Librarians Band Together to Make Kids Lifelong Readers.” Patterson discussed the inspiration behind his new Web site ( and discussed the critical importance of getting our youth to love reading and learning. Says Patterson, “If we raise a generation of non-readers, we will be raising a generation of narrow-minded nincompoops.”

Marco Torres, internationally renowned speaker, filmmaker, teacher and author of a wide variety of digital content, served as the keynote speaker for the conference’s Closing General Session. As a passionate teacher focused on helping students become engaged in learning and acquire the skills they need to thrive in our 21st-century digital culture, Torres discussed the Internet as the stage on which digital media content is and will continue to be published for a global audience hungry to hear the voices of our diverse neighborhoods.

The conference also served as a platform for the release of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills’ (P21) Milestones for Improving Learning and Education (MILE) Guide, a resource created for educators and administrators to help them in measuring the progress of their schools in defining, teaching and assessing 21st century skills. More than 100 people attended the release announcement which featured June Atkinson, North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as representatives from the National Education Association, the North Carolina State Board of Education and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

Other author sessions included Laurie Halse Anderson, author of ‘speak’; Sarah Brannen, author of “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding”; Steven Chbosky, author of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”; Linda Sue Park, author of “A Single Shard”; Richard Peck “The Last Safe Place on Earth”; and Charles R. Smith, Jr., author of “Rimshots.”

New to the conference this year was the b there – Your Virtual Track Pass, a viral community that allowed on-demand access to the conference in a virtual setting. The Track Pass featured eight live Webinars; speaker updates, materials and chats; interviews with James Patterson and danah boyd; a Webcast of the P21 MILE Guide release, discussion threads; a real-time research symposium and session podcasts. All materials will be available to conference attendees and b-there registrants for one year.

This conference was also the greenest AASL conference to date. Many new initiatives used to insure a more sustainable conference. Initiatives included AASL’s virtual component, b there – Your Virtual Track Pass, which housed all session materials and resources on the Web to reduce paper waste; conference signage was made of recyclable materials and printed with eco-friendly inks; conference bags were made of eco-friendly materials; and surplus promotional items, books and bags were be donated to local Charlotte charities.

The Closing Celebration brought more than 1,200 attendees to Charlotte’s ImaginOn, a facility that brings stories to life through extraordinary experiences that challenge, inspire and excite young minds. Storytellers and tours of the facility were provided to attendees.

For more information on the AASL and its 14th National Conference please visit

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.



Charlotte 2009

“Rev Up Learning @ your library”

Registrants: 2,881

Exhibitors: 1,069

Total: 3,950

Reno 2007

"The Future Begins @ your library"

Registrants: 2,246

Exhibitors: 1,140

Total: 3,386

Pittsburgh 2005

"Every Student Succeeds @ your library"

Registrants: 2,578

Exhibitors: 1,224

Total: 3,802