AASL National Conference General Session Explores Censorship and Equity in Education
For Immediate Release
Sylvia Knight Norton
AASL Executive Director
American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
CHICAGO – Presented by the Campaign for Our Shared Future (COSF) and sponsored by Sora by OverDrive Education, the Friday General Session during the 2023 AASL National Conference will explore how curriculum censorship can diminish a learner’s access to high-quality, age-appropriate instruction. The session will also share strategies for crafting effective messaging to fight censorship and promote equity in education. More information on the conference, taking place October 19-21 in Tampa, Florida, and the Friday session can be found at national.aasl.org.
Said conference co-chair Paige Battle, “with their mission to ensure every student has access to a meaningful education built on anti-racist programs, practices, and policies, Campaign for Our Shared Future helps provide resources for educators, and the communities they serve, to fight for the schools our students deserve. Learning how to partner with organizations focused on the shared goals of quality lessons and respectful engagement will prepare attendees to take action on both a local and national level.”
“COSF is one of the leading organizations striving to make sure every student receives an inclusive and equitable education,” said Amanda Jones, conference co-chair. “Their campaigns are helping to stop harmful legislation, advocate against censorship, and help educators to ensure that our nation’s students receive a fair shot at a brighter future. COSF has helped me personally over the past year, so I am delighted that AASL23 attendees will be able to witness firsthand from Dr. Heather Harding the extraordinary work being done by this organization.”
Heather Harding, Ed.D., COSF Executive Director, and COSF Student Task Force member Cameron Samuels will discuss the impact of censorship in today’s K-12 education environment. Drawing on her experience as a mother and lifelong educator, Dr. Harding will provide messaging strategies that attendees can leverage to effectively communicate the importance of intellectual freedom. Leveraging their experience as an Anti-Censorship Activist and the Honorary Chair of Banned Books Week, Samuels will provide a student perspective on the importance and value of diverse perspectives and representation in education.
“Across the country, students are losing access to age-appropriate books and curriculum materials because extremist groups and radical politicians are appointing themselves judge and jury on what’s appropriate for everyone else’s children,” said Heather Harding Ed.D., COSF Executive Director. “Families and librarians are on the front lines of these attempted bans, and I am honored to have the opportunity to talk with school librarians and administrators from across the country about the dangers of censorship and how we can work with families to protect the rights of our students. We must protect our childrens’ ability to see themselves reflected in the classroom and to learn the complete history of our country.”
The AASL National Conference is the only national conference dedicated solely to the needs of school librarians and their roles as educational leaders. A one-of-a-kind conference, the 2023 AASL National Conference will feature daily keynotes, more than 150 concurrent sessions, author panels, research into practice sessions, more than 150 exhibitors, the best practice IdeaLab, poster presentations, author signings, and endless networking opportunities. Content provided at the conference will be rooted in AASL's National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries.
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.
The Sora student reading app, created by OverDrive Education, provides access to the right books for every student. Available in more than 60,000 K-12 schools worldwide, Sora offers the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, digital magazines and other content to support the need for required curriculum titles, class sets and pleasure reading. Sora was named one of TIME’s Best Inventions. TeachingBooks.net (acquired in 2021) complements Sora with one of the largest catalogs of supplemental resources that “bring books to life.” OverDrive – which also provides digital content to public, academic and corporate libraries – is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA. discoversora.com
The Campaign for Our Shared Future (COSF) is a non-partisan effort to support high quality K-12 education and preserve access, inclusion, and meaningful content in our schools so that every student has an opportunity to succeed and thrive. COSF is a common ground effort committed to fighting the attack on education across the country.