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AASL President Update #3 May 7, 2012

Posted by Carl Harvey II in AASL News, AASL Officers, ESEA Reauthorization.
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Where does the time go?  I had this ready to post at the end of March and then the response to the White House petition arrived, it turned to April, and I’m just now getting back to it.  Anyway, the update below covers until the end of April.  One last update will be out at the end of June.


  • The major item from the last few months was the White House Petition for School Libraries.  With the support of ALA President Molly Raphael, the ALA Division Presidents, and many of our vendors and external partners, the petition was promoted at every major event.  The petition surpassed the goal of 25,000 signatures nearly a week before the Feb. 4 deadline, which ensures it will receive the attention and response of White House policy experts.  The official reply was sent Friday, April 15th.  You can read some of my comments about the reply on the blog.
  • I met with OCLC during the Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia to talk about school and public library opportunities for collaboration.
  • National Legislative Day was held in Washington D.C.   AASL met with the National Education Association, staffers to the House Education and Workforce committee on both sides of the aisle, and the Office of Civil Rights  at the US Department of Education.  All were good conversations.  We need to continue to be aware of what is happening in Washington and help  them make that connection of what an effective school library program can do for student learning.
ALA President Molly Raphael, Senator Jack Reed, and AASL President Carl Harvey
  • The highlight of NLLD for me was when I presented Senator Jack Reed with the 2012 AASL Crystal Apple.  He has long been a strong advocate for school libraries in Congress.  Last year his efforts got almost $14 million in dedicated funding for school libraries.

The Board met during ALA Midwinter and the following action was taken:

  • The Board voted to propose a restructure of the AASL governance.  Under the proposal, the position of Director-Elect would be eliminated.  The Nominations Committee would be replaced with the Leadership Development Committee.  All of these changes are pending membership approval of revised bylaws and will be phased in over time.  (You can read some commonly asked questions about the Leadership Development Committee in ALA Connect at: http://connect.ala.org/node/172666)
  • Established several task forces:
    • Senior Projects / Capstone Projects Task Force – to create resources for librarians who work with senior projects.
    • Best Apps for Teaching and Learning Task Force – to begin setting up a recognition process and structure.
    • Quantitative Measures Task Force – to investigate quantitative measures and recommend a direction for AASL.
    • Internet Access Task Force – to write a white paper about Internet and school libraries.
  • Approved a position statement on The Role of the School Library Program.
  • Formed working groups to:
    • Submit a proposal for Emerging Leaders projects.
    • Investigate a position statement on Collection Balance.


Board Votes (after Midwinter):

  • Vice-Chairs – The Board voted to accept a recommendation of the Bylaws committee that AASL committees have a vice-chair.  The mmittee will choose the vice-chair from the members of the committee.  The AASL President will retain the right to appoint committee chairs each year.
  • Pre-Service Task Force – The Board voted to extend this task force for another year.
  • Project Red – Voted to support this program (with our name).
  • Making Progress: Rethinking State and School District Policies Concerning Mobile Technologies and Social Media document – Voted to help disseminate the report.

Press Interviews:

White House Petition for School Libraries – Next Steps February 6, 2012

Posted by Carl Harvey II in Advocacy, ESEA Reauthorization, SKILLS Act.
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Last week was truly an exciting experience.  The petition for school libraries that I posted on the White House “We the People” site reached 25,000 signatures.  As of this moment, it is nearing 27,000.   I, along with many others, I could tell from Facebook and Twitter, were clicking the refresh button often as the ticker got closer and closer.




I think with everything you do, there is always something to be learned from the experience.  For me, the lesson I learned was anything is possible when everyone is working together.  From ALA President Molly Raphael’s School Library Task Force to the ALA Think Tank on Facebook who bought ads on Facebook to the vendor community who sent out messages to all their customers to the librarians and their supporters who convinced their families to all sign the petition to the ALA divisions who helped pull in the entire library community to the other national organizations and associations that partner with AASL who spread the word through their websites and memberships as well, it truly was a team effort.   This group certainly took full advantage of the powers of social media.  It was amazing to watch the power of everyone working together and the results paying off when we crossed the magic 25,000 line.

We now wait for the White House response.  There is no timeline given by the White House other than they will respond as quickly as is possible.  The response will be posted on the White House – We the People – website and everyone who signed the petition will receive the response via email.  There is no guarantee that the response will include any action from the White House.   However, the petition will help raise awareness of the issues facing school libraries today.

But, the petition is not a silver bullet.  As we work towards getting school libraries included in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it will be important that we keep up the effort.  We need to be talking to Senators and Representatives, encouraging them to support the Skills Act.  On January 17, U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ, 7th), along with Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ, 12th) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA, 6th) introduced the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLS) Act. The SKILLS Act, numbered H.R. 3776 in the House, is a companion bill of S. 1328 that was introduced in the Senate by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) back on July 6, 2011.

The Congressional Briefing in October, followed by the petition, have been great steps in advocating for school libraries at the Federal level.  But they are just steps in the journey.  We’ve not reach our destination, so we have to keep moving forward as we paint a picture for our legislators about what today’s school libraries can do for students and the importance for each and every student to have access to a quality school library program!

AASL President Update #2 January 3, 2012

Posted by Carl Harvey II in AASL News, AASL Officers.
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From time to time, I’d like to share with you what AASL has been working on from my perspective as AASL President.  Here are just some of the highlights between October 1st and December 31st.  From our amazing member leaders to our AASL staff, it is amazing to see all that has been happening in a short time.

Events / Projects

  • Most of my time from October to December was spent traveling.  I had the chance to visit some wonderful state conferences as well as our own AASL National Conference.   AASL has a rotation where the President, President-Elect, and Past-President visit a total of 10 state conferences each year.  It brings a connection between the state and national organizations.  Of the five states I’ve visiting this school year, four had conferences this fall.

Below are links to blog postings with my thoughts from the various events.

Board Votes

The Board continues to work in between our Annual and Midwinter meetings.

  • The Board voted to ask the ALA Education Committee for a permanent seat for the ESLS section on their committee.
  • The Board voted to approve Columbus, Ohio as the location of the 2015 AASL Conference.
  • The Board voted to sign on as a stakeholder of the National Center for Literacy Education.

Press Interviews

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the work of AASL.

AASL goes to Washington! October 19, 2011

Posted by Carl Harvey II in AASL News, Committees, ESEA Reauthorization, Hot Topics, Opportunities, SKILLS Act.
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On Monday of this week, I had the pleasure to be in the company of an amazing panel of school library supporters.  These amazing educators and parents came together in Washington, D.C. for the first ever AASL Congressional Briefing.

The briefing, titled Education Reform and the SKILLS Act: The Impact of the Twenty-First Century School Libraries on Career and College Preparedness, was presented by AASL in conjunction with Representative Rush Holt and Senator Jack Reed.  The briefing was designed to provide information and background on why the SKILLS Act should be included as part of the reauthorization of ESEA.

We formed a planning group made-up of the AASL Advocacy Committee Chair Dr. Judi Repman and AASL Legislative Committee Chair Connie Williams.  We started with a  conference call in early August and from there the planning began and moved very quickly.  The Legislative Committee took the lead on preparing a one-page brochure/handout to give attendees outlining the key facts and research that supports the SKILLS Act.  They spent many hours fine-tuning and picking out just the right words and links that would make the most impact to attendees.

All of the resources and handouts are posted on the Congressional Briefing website at:  http://www.ala.org/aasl/congressionalbriefing/

From there, the process began to compile our panel.  We knew we needed a panel that could provide different perspectives on school libraries.  The planning team was very methodical about thinking about who and the perspective they could bring to briefing.  We were able to locate some of the most dynamic speakers in the country.  As the President of AASL, I also joined the panel and was the moderator for the event.  I can’t tell you how honored I was to be in the company of such amazing advocates for school libraries.   Our panel (in the order of their presentations)

  • William A. Mayer, university librarian, American University (D.C.), international speaker and leader on the changing face of services in libraries
  • Carl Harvey, school librarian, North Elementary School (Ind.), AASL president
  • Connie Williams, National Board Certified Teacher Librarian, Petaluma High School (Calif.), AASL legislative committee chair
  • Donna L. Haye, assistant superintendent, Atlantic City Public Schools (N.J.), an AASL Distinguished School Administrator
  • Kathy Mortimer, parent from Henrico County Public Schools (Va.) an AASL National School Library Program of the Year

We decided to use the L4L branding and outlined our agenda under the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner – Think, Create, Share, and Grow!  It provided a great framework for us to paint the picture for attendees about how school libraries continue to change and evolve into 21st Century school library programs.

William Mayer spoke about the important role that school libraries take in preparing students for college and careers.  I focused on elementary school libraries and Connie Williams brought the perspective of secondary school libraries.  Donna Haye talked about the dramatic transformation libraries have made in her district in the last 10 years and the impact the dollars have made on their libraries and student achievement.   Finally Kathy Mortimer shared from a parent’s perspective about the amazing school libraries and opportunities her children have access to and the need for every child to have those experiences.  I could go on and on about what each presenter shared and talked about.    Each spoke eloquently about their perspective and ideas about the importance of school libraries in the education of our students.   So, rather than me attempting to recap everything they said, you can go to the AASL website and view the videos of the Congressional Briefing at: http://www.ala.org/aasl/congressionalbriefing/

Many educational staffers of Representatives and Senators attended the briefing.  It was a “packed house!”  You could see their pads of paper taking notes and we can hope that they went back and shared with their bosses the importance of school libraries.

Following the briefing, we each went off for an afternoon filled of meetings with staffers of the Senators and Congressmen from our own states.  Making that personal connection was important and we’ll be following back up with them as the ESEA act makes it way through Congress.

The timing for the briefing could not have been more perfect as the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is beginning working on the ESEA reauthorization this week.

Thank you to several of our vendors and members who donated through the Friends of AASL to help fund this endeavor.  Many others have written letters or contacted their legislators to advocate for school libraries.  Their support has been key.

On a personal note, I can’t thank everyone who worked so hard on this day enough.  The time and effort they devoted to put this together was amazing.  The AASL staff, the ALA Washington Staff, the Advocacy Guru group, the members of the AASL Legislative and Advocacy Committees, and finally the amazing panelist all deserve to be recognize for their hard work and efforts over the last few months.

But….the work isn’t done.  The briefing in DC this week was great and I think had an impact.  However, it can have a bigger impact if we each have to take time to call our Senators and Representatives and share with them the importance and value of school libraries in our schools.  They need to hear our voices loud and clear and often.  So, when the ALA Washington Office or AASL sends you the email to call you into action, don’t assume someone else will call and do it.  We ALL have to step forward and take ownership of making sure those in Congress (and at the state level, too) have no doubt that school libraries are a critical part of the education ecosystem of today’s schools.


AASL’s 25 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning–now what? July 20, 2011

Posted by Cathy Nelson in AASL News, Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Committees.
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The American Association of School Librarians released its 2011 list of the 25 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning recently. This list provides several topical areas, topics naturally aligned to the AASL standards, as well as a brief description of the tools themselves along with links. While the list is targeted at school librarians, the list is most certainly applicable to the teaching arena which encompasses all educators.  As a technology leader in our building, it is our responsibility to educate our school environment about them, leading and learning right along with them.

The list covers the following topics:

Many of the tools on this list were new to me, including Dipity, Digital Vaults, and PicLits.

So what should we as school librarians do now?

  1. EXPLORE! Visit each and every link to refresh ourselves or become familiar with the potential.
  2. Share as we feel appropriate in our school environment.
  3. Market these sites not only to teachers but also to administrators (both site and network) and campaign for their educational value and use (remove the filter!!)
  4. Use them as well–often times all it takes is our modeling their use for our educational communities to realize their potential.
I am on the committee this year with AASL, and we are already getting nominations to consider for 2012′s AASL 25 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning.  If you want to nominate a site, visit here.
This post is cross posted over at SCASL.net.

CEO / CSO Symposium April 21, 2011

Posted by Carl Harvey II in AASL Officers, Professional Development.
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Last week I traveled to Chicago to attend the CEO Symposium.  Organized by ASAE – The Center for Association Leadership, this two day workshop focuses on associations along with the roles of the CEO (Chief Elected Officer) and CSO (Chief Staff Officer).  This intense training was created by Tecker Consultants, LLC — Glenn Tecker along with his colleagues, Paul Meyer and Leigh Wintz.

Many years ago, AASL began sending both the President-Elect and the Executive Director, Julie Walker, to this training together.  The design of the workshop provides for lots of talking, discussion, and sharing between the CEO and CSO.  While Julie has attended before, she told me that each new President-Elect has a different perspective and the conversations are always rich and useful.  There are still a few more months (thank goodness!) with Nancy Everhart as the President of AASL, so I have a little while to ponder and think how the training might be useful during my term!

There were all types of associations at this conference.  The group is kept small — 100-150 — so that you really get a chance to interact with the presenters and attendees.  AASL has had Paul Meyers come and work with us during out strategic planning several times since I’ve been on the board.  His insight has help guide AASL through some pretty heavy topics and come out with a plan and course of action.  So, to have three of the Tecker group leading it was pretty amazing!

In talking with other Past-Presidents, I had been told this was one of the best professional development sessions you’ll attend as President of AASL.  I certainly would have to agree.  For someone who is learning about our organization, you’ll find that much of how the board operates, deliberates, and make decisions is based off this training.  Sometimes with associations, you can come off and on the Board so fast you don’t really get an understanding of how and why it operates the way it does.  This training really is great for the President-Elect to really see there is research and thought behind how the organization operates.

I can only share my experiences, but in the years I’ve been on the Board I’ve seen a real focus on being strategic from the AASL.  We could spend a lot of time in managing the association, but we don’t.  Instead we focus most of our time on the big issues surround the field and how we as an organization can help move it forward.

My two days in Chicago this last week were amazing.  My hope is that I can use some of what I learned to help continue to move AASL and our field forward during my year as President.  I’m still kind of thinking through a “theme” for my year, but I keep coming back to this word – engaging!

  • I want us to engage the AASL membership to get active and involved!
  • I want us to engage our AASL leadership to help accomplish the work of the association and move AASL and the the field forward.
  • I want us to engage in our schools to become leaders within our buildings.  We all have those teacher leaders in our buildings who are respected for what they do and how they do it!  I think as school librarians we should be right there at the top of that list!

But, I know that a lot of what I learned, I can take back and use in my school.  A lot of what I learned in how to work with people, how to thinking strategically, and how to evaluate our effectiveness can work at my school and school library just as well as it will work for AASL.  Anytime I talk with someone who asks why I’m involved in the profession I can give them two quick reasons:

  • I feel obligated to give back to a field that has given so much to me.
  • Every committee, meeting, conversation, interaction, etc. that I have had in working in AASL, I learn something new that I can transfer back to my day to day job.

So, I can hardly wait to see what all I have to learn in the months ahead.    I’m certain that with all the opportunities to work with many of you, I will be learning a lot!

Happy School Library Month! April 19, 2011

Posted by Carl Harvey II in AASL News, Learning4Life, Opportunities, Professional Development, School Library Month.
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April is always such a great month!  There is spring break, of course, which is always good to have a little time to relax and rest up as we gear up for the end of the year!  Then there is the weather which begins to turn from the cold (at least here in Indiana)  towards the warmer side and we get some blast of sunshine!!!  The flowers are beginning to pop out of the ground and all around there are signs that winter has finally past (I hope!).

But another reason that I like the month of April is the celebration of National School Library Month!  Our PTO always brings us a little snack to share; our principal always brings in lunch for us one day; and my favorite part – all the letters from the kids.  Several of our teachers ask their students to write a letter to the library and tell them what they like the most.  Some of my favorites from this year talked about author visit with Sarah Weeks, or comments about the “hard work” we do to keep the library working.  Probably my favorite letter started out with an apology about their overdue book that she was just sure would be coming back as soon as she could find it!

We’re celebrating in the library with a reading contest to see which class can read the most minutes with our new digitized collection of books.  The kids are really engaged in this contest and it is going to be a close race I think!  We’ll have the voting for our state book award – The Young Hoosier Book Award –this month, too.   Besides that, we’ll continue with classes in working on projects and other activities.  April is going to be a busy month!

If you are looking for ideas and resources to support school libraries and school library month, look no further than the collection of materials put together by AASL.  AASL members and staff have been putting things in overdrive this month to get out some great materials.

  • Check out these podcasts of school library stories from various stakeholders.  I’m honor my principal, Vince Barnes, was able to share a little bit about how he has learned about the value of school library programs.  There is a fabulous podcast from the folks in Texas as the work they are doing with the Texas PTA.   I think there are a few more to come, too.
  • Professional Development – to go along with this year’s theme – Create Your Own Story – AASL offered complimentary webinars with  Nancy Dowd, Director of Marketing for the New Jersey State Library.  If you missed them live, you can watch them in the archives.
  • There are some writing contests for teens this month.  Check out all the details at the link here.  Also, the winners of the Learning4Life video winners have been announced.  You can see the posted winners here.
  • There are a ton of resources with tips and templates and all sorts of resources that you can use to promote School Library Month in your school at the bottom of the page, so don’t forget to check those out, too!
  • AASL has also begun releasing a series of Advocacy Brochures.  Small groups of AASL members have been hard at work creating brochures for administrators, policymakers, parents, and teachers.  The administrators and parents are posted on the AASL website with more to come soon!
  • Today AASL announced the release of the Standards for the 21st Century Learner Lesson Plan Database. Each lesson is also correlated with the Common Core Standards.

Throw in there registration is open for the 2011 AASL Conference in Minneapolis in October, and April is turning out to be a very busy National School Library Month!  Thank you to all the AASL members and staff who have been putting in countless hours to get all these resources pulled together!

AASL visits Lafayette, LA! March 21, 2011

Posted by Carl Harvey II in AASL News, AASL Officers, Professional Development.
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Jan McGee, Elizabeth Dumas, and Carl Harvey

Last week I had the pleasure to head down to Louisiana and spend a few days at the Louisiana Library Association.  The Louisiana Association of School Librarians is the state affiliate to American Association of School Librarians (AASL).  LASL is a division of the Louisiana Library Association.

One of my favorite parts of being President-Elect of AASL is that I get a chance to represent the association at some of the state conferences.  Many years ago the AASL Board votes to start a rotation so that the AASL President (President-Elects and Past-Presidents) would visit the various state conferences on a consistent basis.  Earlier this year I visited Nevada, and the other state on my list was Louisiana!  The goal of the program was to help build and reinforce the connection between our affiliates with AASL.

The reason I enjoy it so much is the people.  Over the 2 1/2 days I was there, I got a chance to meet some amazing librarians doing some amazing things.  LASL is luckily to have quite a dedicated group at the helm of their organization.  They ran a wonderful conference.  I had the honor to present a couple of sessions – Engaging the Profession and 21st Century Skills are Elementary.  It was great to share some of the things AASL is working on.  Even more exciting is that we’ll be back in LA for ALA this summer in New Orleans.

Besides the time I was sharing in front of the group, I got time to sit back in the audience and enjoy of the session they offered.  There were some wonderful session such as Skyping with an Author and What to Read Next after  Percy Jackson with some great tech connections.   You can see some of the resources on the LASL wiki!  I also had the chance to attend their awards reception and the author luncheon with Wendelin Van Draanen who is an amazing presenter.

But, as I said before the people are what makes these conference so wonderful.  The little chats and conversations in the hallways, before and after sessions, or at the meal functions were certainly the highlight for me.  I came back for ideas I can use in my own library as well as feedback for AASL, too.  Thank you to all the great librarians in Louisiana for a great visit!  Looking forward to being back there in June!!!

Call for Volunteers for AASL Committees February 2, 2011

Posted by Carl Harvey II in AASL News, Community.
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AASL Members –

I’m so excited to kick of 2011 by beginning the process to appoint all the various AASL Committees, Task Forces, and Editorial Boards.  This is where the work of our association happens.  As we speak there are committees and chairs hard at work helping to move our association forward.  My task as President-Elect with support from the AASL Appointments Committee is to begin appointing chairs and committee members for works that will begin/continue in July of 2011.

This is where you, the members of AASL, are critical.  We need YOU to become active and involved in our association.  So, how do YOU get involved?

1.)  Go to the AASL website and check out the list committees. http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aboutaasl/aaslgovernance/aaslcommittees/committees.cfm

2.)  Consider which ones you think you would like to be involved.  Realize, too, that there are some committees everyone wants to be a part of, so make sure to have more than one on your list.

3.)  Go online and fill out the AASL volunteer form. (You will need to login into the ALA website for the form to work!)

4.)  Fill out the form.  Make sure to choose several committees you would like to be involved.

During the month of February, appointments will begin.  My goal is to get as many people involved as possible.  But, the process doesn’t end here.  Throughout the year, the Board will also create Task Forces that have a specific job and time frame.  So, this will be another place for member volunteers!

Last year the AASL Board decided that committees have the option to work virtually.  Each chair will determine how best for their committee to work.  Even if you aren’t able to attend Midwinter or Annual, you can still be involved in an AASL committee by working virtually.

The volunteer database needs to be updated each year, so for those that have served on committees in the past, please make sure to go and fill out the form again!

If you aren’t a member of AASL, this is a perfect time to join!

Thank you for taking time to volunteer.  I look forward to working with you to help more the association and the profession forward.  Take this opportunity to get involved!

Carl A. Harvey II
AASL President-Elect

AASL launches student video contest December 8, 2010

Posted by AASL office in Learning4Life.
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The American Association of School Librarians, collaborating with SchoolTube and Cisco, announces the launch of the Learning4Life in My School Library Student Video Contest. Beginning Jan. 4, video submissions will be accepted detailing how school libraries and the technology used within the school library program empower students to be Learners4Life. Find out more at www.ala.org/aasl/l4lvideocontest.

Submissions for the video contest will be accepted until March 18, after which online voters will help choose the best student video. Winners will be announced as the kick-off to School Library Month on April 1.

The contest will choose one student winner from an elementary, middle and high school. Winners will receive a Flipâ„¢ video camera, donated by Cisco, and a prize for their school library. In addition, winning entries will be featured on the AASL, SchoolTube and Cisco websites and social networking platforms and will be featured at the AASL 15th National Conference & Exhibition.

School librarians are encouraged to share this contest with students in their school community. Although educator support is encouraged, school librarians are asked to limit their help in the production of videos. Student collaboration is also encouraged, but winning entries are limited to a prize of only one Flipâ„¢ video camera.

“This student video contest is an excellent way students can synthesize what they know and demonstrate their prowess with technology,” said AASL President Nancy Everhart. “Support your students as they begin their video submission and you will be amazed at what they can accomplish as a result of their learning through the school library program.”

The Learning4Life in My School Library Student Video Contest is a part of AASL’s national campaign, Learning4Life. The Learning4Life (L4L), www.ala.org/aasl/learning4life, national implementation plan supports states, school systems and individual schools preparing to implement the “Standards for the 21st-Century Learner” and “Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs.” The plan will also increase awareness and understanding of the essential role school librarians play in a student’s education.