FEATURE: AASL National Standards for School Libraries and YOU!

Written by: Amber Moser

Greetings, fellow librarians! As you settle into the 2018-2019 school year, you may still be perplexed as to how to incorporate the AASL National Standards for School Libraries into your practice. Let’s begin by understanding the Standards document. You’ll see some terms you haven’t seen in past AASL standards, and you’ll see some familiar terms that perhaps haven’t been used in a standards context before. Here’s a brief list of some defined terms that may increase your understanding of the Standards:


Common Beliefs:  Statements that are fundamental to school librarianship.  The AASL Common Beliefs detail the core of this profession.

Competencies:  Statements that describe what a learner should acquire within a specific Shared Foundation and Domain.

Curriculum:  The arrangement of learning experiences that will lead to mastery of a standard. A curriculum intentionally sequences learning tasks (objectives).

Domain:  A learning category that frames the types of experiences and activities targeted. In this document, the domains are Think, Create, Share, and Grow.

Iterative:  Creating new versions or incarnations of a product; improving, refocusing

Key Commitments:  Brief statements that relate the core understanding of each Shared

Objectives:  Concise statements that convey the desired outcome of a lesson.  Objectives are derived from standards, and they propel the curriculum.

Shared Foundations:  Educational concepts

Standard:  A description of what a learner is expected to do or know.


Let’s look at the Common Beliefs.

1. The school library is a unique and essential part of a learning community. As a destination for on-site and virtual personalized learning, the school library is a vital connection between school and home. As the leader of this space and its functions, the school librarian ensures that the school library environment provides all members of the school community access to information and technology, connecting learning to real- world events. By providing access to an array of well-managed resources, school librarians enable academic knowledge to be linked to deep understanding.

2. Qualified school librarians lead effective school libraries. As they guide
organizational and personal change, effective school librarians model, promote, and foster inquiry learning in adequately staffed and resourced school libraries. Qualified school librarians have been educated and certified to perform interlinked, interdisciplinary, and cross-cutting roles as instructional leaders, program administrators, educators, collaborative partners, and information specialists.

3. Learners should be prepared for college, career, and life. Committed to inclusion and equity, effective school librarians use evidence to determine what works, for whom and under what conditions for each learner; complemented by community engagement and innovative leadership, school librarians improve all learners’ opportunities for success. This success empowers learners to persist in inquiry, advanced study, enriching professional work, and community participation through continuous improvement within and beyond the school building and school day.

4. Reading is the core of personal and academic competency. In the school library, learners engage with relevant information resources and digital learning opportunities in a culture of reading. School librarians initiate and elevate motivational reading initiatives by using story and personal narrative to engage learners. School librarians curate current digital and print materials and technology to provide access to high quality reading materials that encourage learners, educators, and families to become lifelong learners and readers.

5. Intellectual freedom is every learner’s right. Learners have the freedom to speak and hear what others have to say, rather than allowing others to control their access to ideas and information; the school librarian’s responsibility is to develop these dispositions in learners, educators, and all other members of the learning community.

6. Information technologies must be appropriately integrated and equitably available. Although information technology is woven into almost every aspect of learning and life, not every learner and educator has equitable access to up-to-date, appropriate technology and connectivity. An effective school library bridges digital and socioeconomic divides to affect information technology access and skill.

From the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries I standards. aasl.org I ã 2018 American Library Association.


How do these resonate with you?

Throughout the year, we’ll discuss different facets of the standards. Stay tuned!

Amber Moser is an Instructional Coach for Library Media Services in the Knox County Schools.  She serves eighty-six librarians in elementary, middle, and high schools.  Amber has been a coach for four years.  Prior to coaching, she was an elementary librarian for six years and an elementary classroom teacher for eleven years.  She is the co-chair for the TASL standards committee.

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