New Mexico receives AASL ABC-CLIO Leadership Grant to extend professional development to isolated school librarians

For Immediate Release
Tue, 05/12/2015


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – The Advocacy for School Libraries Special Interest Group in New Mexico (ASL-SIG) is the recipient of the 2015 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) ABC-CLIO Leadership Grant. Sponsored by ABC-CLIO, the $1,750 grant is given to AASL affiliated school library associations for planning and implementing leadership programs at the state, regional or local levels.

The Advocacy for School Libraries Special Interest Group, part of the New Mexico Library Association, represents school librarians throughout the geographically large state. Working mostly in isolation, school librarians find it difficult to participate in professional development opportunities and build meaningful mentoring relationships. The ASL-SIG has developed a yearlong plan to connect librarians throughout the state by identifying leaders, providing stipends for face-to-face professional development, hosting and training librarians on webinar software and systematically connecting school librarians in mentor/mentee relationships. The plan is carefully outlined month by month and includes an initiative to reach out to other states, specifically with similar isolation problems, to help duplicate the initiative.

“The committee was impressed with the potential of the New Mexico proposal to work with a large number of librarians. By dividing the state into five geographic sections and galvanizing leadership within each section to mentor librarians relatively close in distance, the ASL-SIG could ameliorate some of the problems of living in a large state with a sparse population,” said Floyd Pentlin, chair of the grant committee. “The selection committee also liked the fact that there was a built-in component to the plan to bring together the leaders of the various sections on a regular basis as a professional development steering committee to reinforce each other’s ideas and to learn from each other. The thought-out calendar for implementing this proposal suggests that the plan would maintain its energy over the duration of the program. A final plaudit for this program is that it would be highly replicable in other states who face the same kind of distance and population issues.”

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony during the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. The ceremony will be held from 9 – 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 27. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event taking place prior to the AASL President’s Program.

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