Written by: Blake Hopper, 2019 TASL President
Hello, Tennessee Librarians! I am so excited for the opportunity to be the very first contributor to our new TASLTalks Blog. I hope all of you are excited as well. We hope this new tool will help each of you keep up with all the great things happening in our libraries throughout our state. We would love for you to be a guest blogger! Please contact Ginger if you are interested. Speaking of Ginger, we owe her a huge thank you for getting our blog up and running. It will be an invaluable tool in keeping all of you posted on important TASL events, the first of which I’d like to detail below.
Last month your president-elect Jennifer Sharp and I attended ALA Midwinter in the warm and snowy city of Denver. When we arrived on Friday, it was spring-like weather. When we woke up on Saturday, we were hit with a snow storm! Jennifer and I had a fantastic time representing our great state in Denver. We attended the affiliate assembly on Saturday and Sunday. You may ask, “What is Affiliate Assembly?” Affiliate Assembly is a set of meetings for all of the AASL affiliates at ALA conference. It allows all the states to get together to discuss issues and great things happening in each state’s school libraries.
While attending the meetings we gleaned all the latest on the new AASL standards. Have you reviewed the new standards yet? If not, I encourage you to head over to standards.aasl.org and take a look. I think that you will be pleased with them and all the hard work the AASL Standards Committee put into them. Our own TASL standards committee is currently working to schedule opportunities to introduce and train you in the new standards. We are going to discuss them at each Spring Roundtable. We will also have sessions on them at Summer Road Trip and the Annual Fall Conference. You can check social media and the TASL website for the dates and locations for all of these opportunities. You can also contact your area rep with questions concerning dates.
We also heard the latest on the ESSA plans at Affiliate Assembly. We are excited that our state has included us in their plan. I contacted Brinn Obermiller at the state department to ask how we can help get the plan out to Librarians. According to our state department ESSA will help with the following things:
1) Providing students with a well-rounded education (e.g. STEM, arts, civics, IB/AP, health and physical education).
2) Supporting safe and healthy students (e.g. school mental health, drug and violence prevention, training on trauma-informed practices, health and physical education).
3) Supporting the effective use of technology (e.g. professional development, blended learning, technology devices).
School libraries would fall in the first category (well-rounded education), which was where they were mentioned in the ESSA state plan. Districts receive grant funding and then they decide what programming they will implement. As we were gathering public feedback on the plan, staffing and resources for school libraries was brought up as a need several times. The great thing about this grant is that it is very flexible and districts can use funds for lots of different things, including support for school libraries.They stated that librarians can contact their district’s central offices to start the conversation on how librarians can be involved with the implementation of the ESSA plans.
I am excited about all of the great things happening in our libraries. I hope you are too! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. TASL is here for you!