Building partnerships and passing legislation the focus of new ALA and AASL webinar

For Immediate Release
Tue, 09/19/2017


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians


CHICAGO – A new webinar from the ALA Chapter Relations Office (CRO), Office of Library Advocacy and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) will facilitate a conversation about building partnerships and identifying library champions in order to pass school library legislation at the state level. Registration for the free presentation, “Back to School: School Library Legislation in the Statehouses,” taking place at 2 p.m. Central on Wednesday, Sept. 27, is now open. All are invited to attend.

Schools with a strong school library program and a state-certified school librarian ensure their students have the best chance to succeed in college and careers, yet research shows only approximately 20 states require a state-certified school librarian in their schools. As the need for future-ready citizens builds, collaborative partnerships in several states have worked to pass legislation – or enforce existing legislation – to guarantee every student has access to an effective school library program.

During the webinar, representatives from three states will share their successes, challenges and lessons learned while working together to pass legislation.

Panelists include:

  • James Keehbler, New Jersey Library Association past president and Director of the Piscataway Public Library
  • Mernie Maestas, Missouri Association of School Librarians president and school librarian at Boone Trail Elementary School

  • Lysha Thompson, Missouri Association of School Librarians legislative chair and school librarian for Miller County R-3 Schools

  • Deb Kachel, Pennsylvania School Librarians Association legislative chair and adjunct instructor, at Antioch University

After the panelists share their stories, all webinar attendees are invited to join a discussion to share their own experiences.

"School libraries are foundational to the work of public and academic libraries," said ALA President Jim Neal. "School libraries and librarians play a key role within our library ecosystem as they prepare students to become lifelong learners and ethical users of technology. I encourage all ALA members to attend this collaborative discussion on how we all can work together to ensure that every student has access to a school librarian and quality school library program.”  

“Advocacy is such a vital portion of what AASL and ALA contribute to our profession,” said AASL President Steven Yates. “AASL is excited for this collaborative learning opportunity with OLA and CRO. The opportunity to share state-level strategies in a conversational format is something I hope we can continue to offer on a regular basis and in multiple formats and locations. AASL affiliates and ALA chapters are ideal collaborators and wonderful allies for advocacy at local and state level.”

The webinar is the kickoff event of a joint AASL, CRO and OLA special initiative “State Ecosystems,” a program to develop a more collaborative relationship and stronger coalition between ALA, the ALA Chapters and the AASL Affiliates.

About CRO
The Chapter Relations Office promotes a sense of identification between the national Association and the 57 ALA Chapters; facilitates communication between the Chapters and all ALA units; and coordinates leadership development for Chapter officers, Chapter Councilors, chief paid staff members, and other Chapter leaders.

About OLA
The Office for Library Advocacy (OLA) supports the efforts of advocates seeking to improve libraries of all types by developing resources, a peer-to-peer advocacy network, and training for advocates at the local, state and national level.

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