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School Library System: AASL Standards

Common Beliefs

The school library is a unique and essential part of a learning community.

As a destination for on-site and virtual personalized learning, the school library is a vital connection between school and home. As the leader of this space and its functions, the school librarian ensures that the school library environment provides all members of the school community access to information and technology, connecting learning to real-world events. By providing access to an array of well-managed resources, school librarians enable academic knowledge to be linked to deep understanding.

Qualified school librarians lead effective school libraries.

As they guide organizational and personal change, effective school librarians model, promote, and foster inquiry learning in adequately staffed and resourced school libraries. Qualified school librarians have been educated and certified to perform interlinked, interdisciplinary, and cross-cutting roles as instructional leaders, program administrators, educators, collaborative partners, and information specialists.

Learners should be prepared for college, career, and life.

Committed to inclusion and equity, effective school librarians use evidence to determine what works, for whom and under what conditions for each learner; complemented by community engagement and innovative leadership, school librarians improve all learners’ opportunities for success. This success empowers learners to persist in inquiry, advanced study, enriching professional work, and community participation through continuous improvement within and beyond the school building and school day.

Reading is the core of personal and academic competency.

In the school library, learners engage with relevant information resources and digital learning opportunities in a culture of reading. School librarians
initiate and elevate motivational reading initiatives by using story and personal narrative to engage learners. School librarians curate current digital
and print materials and technology to provide access to high-quality reading materials that encourage learners, educators, and families to become lifelong learners and readers.

Intellectual freedom is every learner’s right.

Learners have the freedom to speak and hear what others have to say, rather than allowing others to control their access to ideas and information;  the school librarian’s responsibility is to develop these dispositions in learners, educators, and all other members of the learning community.

Information technologies must be appropriately integrated and equitably available.

Although information technology is woven into almost every aspect of learning and life, not every learner and educator has equitable access to up-to-date, appropriate technology and connectivity. An effective school library bridges digital and socioeconomic divides to affect information technology
access and skill.


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Where do I start?

Encountering new educational standards can be overwhelming. Instead of looking at the AASL Standards as a complete overhaul of our school library practice, let's start by taking one small but meaningful step for each of our Shared Foundations. As you explore, look for the concepts embedded in the AASL Standards components: Shared Foundations, Key Commitments, Domains, Competencies, and Alignments. Discover how the framework structure makes it easy to use and compare standards for learners, school librarians, and school libraries.

List three questions you have about your own practice as a school librarian. Then, read Chapter Two: Introduction to the Learner Standards, beginning on page 27 of the National School Library Standards. Which Shared Foundations will help you move your practice forward?

Share the six Shared Foundation words with a small group of students. Which one's do they understand? Which do they need defined? Start thinking about how you'll introduce these to other students in your school.

Connect with other librarians (in person, online, or through social media) to seek their perspectives on the AASL Standards and to share your own. Follow #AASLstandards on Twitter. Visit the message boards on the AASL Standards web portal. How will you work with another colleague or teacher?

Select two to three examples of past tasks, assessments, or student portfolios that demonstrate typical work students do in and through your library. What do these artifacts tell you about your strengths? Growth areas? Which Shared Foundations relate to these areas?

Bonus! Select and tag three professional resources to help you focus on an area of your practice.

Take a few minutes to browse all six Shared Foundations infographics. Identify one that you feel especially confident about. What are your strengths in this area? Identify one that is a challenge in your practice. How will you pursue growth in this area?

Now that you have considered these action steps, what do you plan to do first? Consider sharing your first steps at #AASLstandards.

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