Saturday, January 31, 2015

Assembling with the Affiliates: Day One

"What is the Affiliate Assembly and what does it do?" Is a question I am often asked by school librarians at ALA meetings and conferences. If the people active in the school library world are confused, I can imagine what school librarians back in the trenches are thinking. "What value does the Assembly bring to my work?" "Why have an Affiliate?" "Why send reps from Massachusetts?" 

I am happy to report that we are trying to remedy this lack of understanding about Affiliate, all while strengthening the organization. The AASL Affiliate Assembly met today to begin a conversation around community building that will be continued into the Annual Meeting in San Francisco in June.

Prior to the meeting, we, as Affiliate Reps, were asked to think about the following three questions:

1. What are your aspirations/goals for the Affiliate Assembly?

2. What would be possible obstacles to reaching those aspirations/goals?

3. What would be solutions that would allow Affiliate members to reach these goals together?

We met in small groups, each with representation the different regions. The data from this meeting will be used as a starting place in June. I am eager to hear the responses from the other groups, on the mean time, here's what my group is thinking:

The Affiliate should produce something tangible that school librarians can use - a statement or a product
The Affiliate should work to improve crowd sourcing among the states-communicate initiatives and ideas
The Affiliate should help with advocacy.
AASL a should build a relationship with ISTE
AASL would take on more STEM/STEAM presence
Adopt and Promote a tech-infused library program
More free activities and resources for school library initiatives- level the playing field for all school library programs - maybe states buy into AASL sources and then distribute. (I.e., school library month - some free resources, but many cost money and budgets are limited)

Vision of school libraries is often out-dated
Perception of school library programs as being all about literacy, but not science and technology
Frequent turnover of Affiliate reps

More state library associations collaborate with state CUE organizations to put on conferences like the MSLA/MassCUE conference.
AASL taking on a bigger social networking presence - Twitter night, etc...
More resources like the elevator speech cards and buttons
Have one national/regional/state conference theme - builds consistency of message, lowers costs,  spreads the work. 

We've got our work cut out for us!

AASL 2015 National Conference Committee Meeting

With Debra Kay Logan from Ohio, I have the pleasure of co-chairing AASL's next national conference, which will be held in Columbus, OH, November 5-8, 2015. MSLA'S Judi Paradis is co-chair of the subcommittee in charge of selecting and scheduling the concurrent sessions. Our entire committee of over a dozen school librarians from around the country, along with staff from AASL, met today. This is our second time meeting in person, but the first time everyone was able to attend. We hold monthly conference calls, but it was great to see everyone face-to-face.

Here are some quick notes of highlights that we will be reporting to the AASL Affiliate Assemby tomorrow.

Theme: Experience Education Evolution

We are looking at school librarians as proactive leaders in an educational environment that is in a state of constant flux. Change is the constant. The conference will embrace being aware of, informed about, managing, leading and assisting others with changing resources, programs, technology, methodologies, standards and teacher expectations. We want school librarians to leave Columbus feeling that they have a more than strong grasp of the evolving educational environment. We also want them to feel innovative, invigorated, inspired, excited and ready to stretch old boundaries and instill new energy into their school library programs. We want administrators to leave with a clear picture of school librarians at the forefront as a confident, willing, comfortable and nimble vanguard. We also see a connection between evolution and revolution. We are not passive in this changing system. We are advocates for students, teachers and learning

  • Administrators free with their school librarian
  • Opening general session each day with thought-leaders in education
  • Heidi Hayes Jacobs, expert in curriculum and instruction 
  • Project Connect Panel: Administrators Empowering School Library Programs, sponsored by Follett
  • Brian Selznick, author of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, with a new book coming out in time for our conference
  • Closing keynote: Eszter Hargittai, who believes the concept of the digital native is a myth
  • Highlight affiliates and regions by providing opportunity for attendees to meet and network with others from their state and region
  • Exploratorium/IdeaXchange is now the IdeaLab, featuring learning stations with large screen monitors showcasing best practices in topics related to education evolution
  • UnConference with new twists and maybe some late-night games
  • Fun closing session that will be uniquely Columbus
Registration will open in early February.

In a separate post, I'll write more about author events.