Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Boston -- fame, fortune and a "new" name

Thanks to my trusty side-kick, NCSLMA President-Elect Deanna Harris, who faithfully blogged about our experiences pal-ing around together at ALA Midwinter in Boston last weekend. Yes, we really did see and hear Al Gore -- I even got up close for an autograph of his newest book, Our Choices. As you may have seen on this blog (and on Facebook), we had our picture taken with another celebrity, "Flat Sara", a life-size cutout of ALA Presidential candidate, Sara Kelly Johns. (Sara is a former AASL President & she's looking for support from AASL members when we vote for ALA President in the spring.) Out of obligation to our host city, Deanna and I slurped down some tasty clam "chowdah" and did extensive field-testing of their famous Boston Creme Pie. We can confirm that they know how to make a scrumptious dessert in Boston!

Of course, there were more substantive things that happened in Boston. One of the more intriguing moments was when AASL President-Elect Nancy Everhart described her plan to visit an outstanding school library in all 50 states!
Nancy's excellent adventure (she'll be rollin' cross-country in an RV) might be the ticket to your fame, since Nancy is looking for an exemplary school library in NC to visit. I will provide her with our state's recommendation for this honor in April, so put on your thinking caps and consider nominating yourself or someone else. An "offical" NCSLMA nomination form will be posted on the website soon, but in the meantime here are the specifics that Nancy is looking for in her 50-state school library tour:

  • The school librarian is fully certified and a member of AASL
  • The facility and activities going on in the facility are engaging and visually stimulating.
  • The school library makes the most of the resources available.
  • Schools should be diverse and at various levels – elementary, middle, high, K-12, etc.
  • The school administration agrees to a site visit with media coverage which may include television, radio, and/or web coverage
  • Appropriate permissions are obtained which include photos, video and potential research
  • The school visit will occur on a day that fits Nancy's schedule
  • Evidence of learning will be provided
  • Tour schedule will be finalized in May and June and announced at ALA Annual in Washington, DC in June 2010.
Besides fame as a stop on Nancy's 50-state tour, there's fortune to be had as an AASL member. Several AASL awards are still up for grabs and we would LOVE to see an NCSLMA member bring home the money. The application deadline is February 1, 2010, so time is of the essence! For more information, including an application, go to Award winners will be honored at ALA Annual in Washington DC in June 2010. Given the current budget environment, there's no better time to showcase your library program, demonstrate your very best practices, and support the work you love by bringing home an AASL Award!

The other interesting news out of Boston is that AASL has officially adopted the professional title of "School Librarian" to describe the work we do. According to ALA's Cognotes, "a recent AASL survey indicated confusion, misperceptions, and inconsistencies about job titles in the school librarian profession." Affiliate Assembly requested that the AASL Board of Directors "choose a title for its professionals that is clear to other educators, administrators, and the public, and that presents a common nomenclature for all publications and advocacy efforts."

So, School Librarian may be an old name, but it's our new professional title for the 21st century. While most people are very familiar with this old new name, they are likely not as conversant with what it means to be a 21st century School Librarian. If we are at our very best, we're making this clear every day through the work we do in school libraries across North Carolina. (I don't know about you, but I wear this professional title proudly and make it part of my signature line.)

Happily back in NC (but still lovin' Boston),
your NCSLMA President and School Librarian
-- Kelly

connecting . learning . leading
kellybrannock at Twitter
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1 comment:

  1. I, for one, am thrilled with the (not so) new title! I've always felt that the name "media specialist/coordinator" devalued our profession - while also leaving very few with a true understanding of the important role we have to play in our schools. Rather than trying to find a new buzzword to encompass all that we do, ALA has charged us with showing the world that school librarians CAN and DO do it all!

    Glad you guys had such a good time!