New AASL Standards: What Do They Mean for You?


It is seldom that a new rollout of an intiative does not turn into the dreaded “One More Thing” situation. Honestly, the AASL National School Library Standards that have been unveiled at the AASL 2017 National Convention is anything but. They are written in such a way that will help school librarians everywhere celebrate the learning that is happening right now in your schools and libraries. Or, perhaps, give directions to those of us who need a plan.Who shouts out “I need a hot drink!” when you are smack in the middle of a fire? (i.e. Twenty-eight things going on simultaneously such as parent nights, meetings, book fairs, holiday concerts, spirit weeks and the list goes on.) Well, not me. I am looking for a cool drink with ice. Or, in this case, I.I.C.C.E.E. Inquire. Include. Collaborate. Curate. Explore. Engage.

The six core values that serve as the foundation for the new standards allow for easy integration of library standards to all curriculums. Gone is the jargon that can sidetrack even the best intentions and in its place are words that every educator uses in their lesson planning and delivery.

We have the opportunity to establish ourselves as the bridge over the curriculum current and really, the current curriculum—no matter how often it changes or doesn’t. The new standards empower each one of us to pick a place that works best for our stakeholders and incorporate this fresh way of thinking about best practices. Student-centered learning is key for success in education, whether your student is 2 or 92 or somewhere in between.  Opportunities to engage in meaningful and authentic learning experiences are threaded throughout each of the standards. As we spend time unpacking each of them, I am almost giddy to think about where we will be as a profession as the shift to the new standards begin.

So. What does this mean for you? It means that you now have a document and loads of resources to support you as you strive to make—or keep—your library indispensable to your school. It means that you have research readily available for your administrator that will prove how you should be at the table when it comes to planning for curriculum support. It means that you have to step up, step out of the library doors, and make the effort to connect with teachers and prove that you want to support their instruction with instruction of your own. It means that you have to push yourselves before you can expect others to push themselves. It means you have to make a safe space to fail as you learn because after all failure is really just a more in-depth path to success. Most importantly, it means that you are living in an exciting time to be in the library.

Now get out there and do what you do best: facilitate the learning! Drink the Kool-Aid (with I.I.C.C.E.E) and get on board for the grandest ride of all. It is implementation time, folks! *glitter throw* ”

From the ALA:

Designed to empower leaders to transform teaching and learning, the new “National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries” from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), published by ALA Editions, reflect an evolution of AASL Standards. The standards and guidelines found in three previously separate publications—”AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner,” “Standards in Action,” and “Empowering Learners”—have been integrated, remodeled, and framed within a single text. Featuring a new streamlined AASL Standards Integrated Framework for learners, school librarians, and school libraries, these standards emphasize the importance of all three standards sets while ensuring that standards-related activities are mutually reinforcing.

Also available is the AASL Standards Framework for Learners pamphlet, the ideal collaborative and advocacy piece to introduce stakeholders to this student-focused segment at the heart of AASL’s standards. In addition to the framework for learners, this convenient pamphlet includes Common Beliefs reflecting current learning environments and professional best practices that form the foundation of the standards and a summary of the essential elements in the standards framework structure. The pamphlet is sold in full-color glossy packs of 10. It’s the perfect piece to share and present at district school board meetings, PTA/PTO meetings, and teacher in-service days.

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