Here’s a brief snapshot of the new trends, publications, and resources promoted at ALA Midwinter:
WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO (AKA THE STANDARDS)
1. AASL Standards in Action – This 100+ page document is Phase 2 of the 3-part rollout of the Standards package and was released last weekend. Basically, it gives some examples of what the Standards might look like as they play out in your library. There were great authors on this project, so it might make an interesting read (and it has interesting graphical layout, to say the least!). Available for purchase here: http://www.alastore.ala.org/SiteSolution.taf?_sn=catalog2&_pn=product_detail&_op=2773
2. Youth Media Awards – Announced Monday morning. See http://ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/mediapresscenter/presskits/youthmediaawards/alayouthmediaawards.cfm for a list and videos of the announcement.
THINGS TO DO AND LEARN
3. ALA Annual in Chicago – See http://www.ala.org/annual . If you’d like to go, book your hotel early – ALA essentially takes over the town during this conference. It was at Chicago’s last conference that a brand-new senator from Illinois spoke passionately about wanting to keep the FBI out of America’s libraries … which just goes to show how far you can go when you spend time with librarians, huh, Mr. President?
4. AASL Fall Conference – Watch the mail – every school in the country is going to get a copy of the Knowledge Quest issue “Doing Honest Work.” In it will be lots of information regarding the AASL Fall Conference in Charlotte. The KQ editorial staff is very excited about this issue. It confronts some big issues about intellectual property, authentic work, etc. Learn more here: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/conferencesandevents/national/charlotte2009.cfm
5. The AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner are in high gear. A preconference is scheduled for Annual, and there will be several sessions at the fall AASL conference. Stay tuned! Webinars with experts in the field are forthcoming this spring. It’s gonna be all Standards, all the time, baby. Find the Standards here:http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslproftools/learningstandards/standards.cfm
6. AASL Learning 4 Life Implementation Plan – Gives an overview of the multi-year, multifaceted rollout of the standards. Released in Fall 2008. It’s more of a guide for those working on the implementation than it is for practitioners, but for the hardy among you, there’s a free download here: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslproftools/learning4life/index.cfm
7. The AASL Blog has been humming lately - http://www.aasl.ala.org/aaslblog/ .
8. AASL’s general philosophy is a reminder that in times of crisis, stakeholders don’t want to hear us saying how great we and our programs are. They will respond more favorably to other people saying how great we are. (Think of the Spokane Moms featured on the cover of School Library Journal, for example.) We can do PR for ourselves, but advocacy is getting other people to sing our praises.
9. ALA Advocacy’s Tough Economy Toolkit – Brand-new; not specifically geared toward school libraries. See:http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/advocacyuniversity/toolkit/index.cfm
10. AASL School Library Program Health and Wellness Toolkit - a project of the AASL Advocacy Committee. Discusses how to develop support for your school library during the good times. Available here: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslproftools/toolkits/slmhealthandwellness.cfm
11. AASL School Library Program Crisis Toolkit - Another Advocacy Committee project. Use this one if your program is actively in jeopardy. See:http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslproftools/toolkits/crisis.cfm
12. Add It Up – “Research and statistics to help advocates make the case for libraries at every stage of youth development and education.” Lots of good snippets (with links to the source document) about the value of public and school libraries. Available here:http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/advocacyuniversity/additup/index.cfm
PROBLEMS ON THE HORIZON (besides job cuts and budget reductions!)
14. CPSIA Act – This new act was a reaction to the lead painted toys scandal of last fall. Basically, it says that anything that could be construed as a toy must be tested for lead. ALA and publishers have been actively advocating for books to be removed from the list of items requiring testing. The Commissioner has been unwilling to remove books, and until a few days ago, ALA was predicting that as written, the CPSIA might prosecute anyone distributing “children’s items” – from toys to puppets to books – effectively shutting down the libraries of anyone who served children. There has been late-breaking news this week that the Commissioner will extend the study period regarding books and lead content, but he has NOT removed books from the list of tested items in the Act. Word on the street among librarians is that CPSIA was well-intentioned but too expansive in its scope so that it’s now got Etsy sellers, Ebay merchants, Mom-to-Mom sale organizers, and even big businesses like Target feeling scared. More on this here: http://www.aasl.ala.org/aaslblog/2009/01/28/cpsia-lawlibrarians-are-making-their-voices-heard/ ALA encourages you to call the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Obviously, someone at CPSC read Crispin and the Cross of Lead and overreacted.
COMING SOON FROM ALA … a position statement on the role of the media specialist in reading … AASL Program Guidelines … more educational opportunities regarding the Standards …