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Libraries Transform: The Expert in the School Library: Committee Membership / Background and Charge

Content to support school librarians’ expertise to effectively impact student achievement and school communities.

School Libraries - Membership

Dorcas Hand, Co-Chair

Sara Kelly Johns, Co-Chair

Susan Ballard, Co-Chair

Angela Hall

Debra Kachel

Jennifer Jamison

Kathy Hicks Brooks

Kathy Burnette

Kay Wejrowski

Ric Hasenyager

Joyce Valenza

School Libraries - Background and Charge

Background:  Based on the charge given them (see below), the School Library Group for the Julie Todaro’s ALA Presidential Initiative, Libraries Transform: The Expert in the Library, developed tools for use by school librarians to improve their professionalism in practical, philosophical and pedagogical ways. We created this LibGuide to curate websites, articles, videos and infographics that support the value and expertise of the school librarian.

The group also worked collaboratively to develop a continuum of competencies derived from the National Policy Board for Educational Administrators Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL’s). School librarians also need to be effective leaders to ensure student achievement and empower their learning communities.

We then developed a rubric to allow school librarians opportunities to increase their proficiency through personal growth. All users of this work (found under the School Librarian PSEL Competencies – Building Our Expertise tab) can discover how accomplished they are in any one or all 11 competencies--and then find resources to advance personal learning along the continuum from Ineffective to Highly Effective. There is no scoring system or survey; users simply read the rubric and decide what works best individually. Users may learn they are only Emerging for some skills but Highly Effective in others.

We are all seeking to be better at what we do and that we each do some things better than others. Effective practitioners are lifelong learners who are always striving to improve their school library practice.

Charge:  The school library team will focus on building the capacity, knowledge, skills and expertise of school library personnel to transform teaching and learning. Elements of our work will include:

  • Develop a list of dispositions that empower strong school library practice.
  • Develop a spectrum of core competencies from beginner to expert focused on leadership with links out to potential PD opportunities that will allow users to build their personal expertise along the continuum of leadership as we think, create, share and grow. 
  • Include solo building librarians, school librarians who travel between multiple campuses, paraprofessionals acting alone on campuses, certified teachers pursuing librarian credentials, nonprofessional assistants, district directors, and department heads.
  • How to build and implement a strong school library culture on campuses and across districts.
  • How to develop measurable assessments and outcomes of these core competencies beyond student test scores and circulation statistics, interlink these competencies, assessments and PD options in such a way that users can develop personal learning plans to remain current and grow professionally.
  • Develop a list of useful vocabulary with definitions (avoiding as much as possible library jargon).
  • Compile information and references that detail the VALUE of school librarians in measurable terms to students, parents, campuses, districts and communities.
  • Develop a list of tangible products that reflect this work for audiences that include practicing school librarians (certified and para), school library students, school library educators, pre-service teacher and administrator educators and all those responsible for student learning (campus and district administrators, parents, school boards, schools of education, etc.).
  • Initiate the development of useful tools for practitioners.
  • Develop list of possible research topics to assist AASL with their development of a theoretical base of school librarianship.
  • Align our efforts with Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).