American Association of School Librarians

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The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is a division of the American Library Association (ALA)[1] that has more than 7,000 members and serves primary school and secondary school librarians in the U.S., Canada, and even internationally. Prior to being established in 1951, school librarians were served by the School Library Section of ALA founded in 1914, which emerged from the Roundtable of Normal and High School Librarians. The mission of the American Association of School Librarians is to advocate excellence, facilitate change, and develop leaders in the school library field.[2]


At the 1914 ALA Midwinter Conference, a petition from the Roundtable of Normal and High School Librarians for a School Libraries Section was approved. In 1915, at the ALA Annual Conference, Mary E. Hall was elected the section's first president.[3] ALA sections serve the larger membership divisions, of which there are currently eleven.[4] The title AASL was first used in 1944, as part of the ALA's Division of Libraries for Children and Young People. Demand for AASL division status peaked in 1950, when a preconference was held to discuss separating AASL into its own independent division.[5] On January 1, 1951, AASL achieved independent division status.[6] The first president of AASL was Laura K. Martin, who served in 1951-1952.[7] In 1980, AASL held its first national conference in Louisville, Kentucky. In the off years when a national conference is not held, AASL holds a Fall Forum over several days instead. The first Fall Forum was held in Dallas, Texas in 2004[8] At times, AASL has been at odds with its parent organization. At the 1984 ALA Midwinter Meeting, AASL directors discussed options for obtaining more independence from ALA. Two of the Future Structures Committee's more radical recommendations included a federated structure for AASL, or even secession from ALA.[9]

In November 2015, the House and Senate Conference Committee added language to the Every Student Succeeds Act, recognizing the value of school libraries, an important milestone for AASL and ALA.[10] For 2017, AASL is planning on introducing the AASL Induction Program, a leadership program for new school library professionals.[11]


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Advocacy is an important part of the AASL mission. In 1948, AASL first put forth a list of school library standards.[5] Recent AASL efforts have advocated for flexible scheduling of school library media centers, as well as information literacy.[12] AASL established Banned Websites Awareness Day to call attention to the large number of educational websites that are inadvertently blocked by school website filtering software. This awareness day occurs the Wednesday during Banned Books Week.[13] AASL also created School Library Month, held every April, to showcase school librarians and school library programs.[14] The first School Library Month (then titled School Library Media Month) was held April 1, 1985.[15]

Affiliate Assembly[edit]

Since 1977, the AASL Affiliate Assembly has provided a way for school library professionals in each state to relay their concerns to the AASL Board of Directors. The assembly is made up of two representatives, also called delegates, from each affiliated state organization. These affiliated organizations include regional and state school library associations.[8] Delegates are usually the presidents or other officers of the affiliated organizations they represent. Delegates alert the Board of both good and bad in the field through a concerns and commendations process. Statements of Commendation are intended to provide worthy programs with accolades at the national level. Recent Statements of Concern range from improving communication with other divisions within ALA to monitoring the increasing number of public libraries managing school libraries. Statements of Concern are not abstract creations. They are focused concerns that must include a doable plan of action.[16]


AASL publishes standards and guides for instructional programs in school libraries that provide benchmarks and insight into the indicators for each standard. Its various publications assist in helping school librarians establish effective library programs that meet the needs of the changing school library environment. These titles include its flagship print journal Knowledge Quest, its email journal KQ Express, and an open-access online research journal School Library Research.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ admin (2006-07-07). "Divisions". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  2. ^ admin (2006-09-27). "About AASL". Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  3. ^ "AASL History: 1914-1951".
  4. ^ "Divisions".
  5. ^ a b Woolls, B. (2016). "Celebrating 65 years of a dynamic organization for school librarians". Knowledge Quest. 45 (1): 10–15 – via EBSCOhost.
  6. ^ "About AASL".
  7. ^ "AASL Presidents: 1951-Present".
  8. ^ a b Adcock, D.; Ballard, S. (2015). "Still the one: Reflections on sixty-five years of resilience and relevance". Knowledge Quest. 43 (4): 8–15 – via EBSCOhost.
  9. ^ "AASL studies options for future: Secession from ALA a possibility". School Library Journal. 30 (6): 9–10. 1984 – via EBSCOhost.
  10. ^ "AASL, ALA applaud the addition of school libraries to Every Student Succeeds Act | American Libraries Magazine". Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  11. ^ Harvey II, C. A. (2016). "Celebrating the past and transforming the future". Knowledge Quest. 45 (1): 20–24 – via EBSCOhost.
  12. ^ Levitov, D. (2007). "One library media specialist's journey to understanding advocacy". Knowledge Quest. 36 (1): 28–31 – via EBSCOhost.
  13. ^ "Events".
  14. ^ "School Library Month".
  15. ^ "School Library Month History".
  16. ^ "AASL Affiliate Assembly Concerns".
  17. ^ admin (2006-09-27). "Publications & Journals". Retrieved 2016-09-06.

External links[edit]