It is with many mixed emotions that I write this blog post – my farewell address! It’s hard to believe that 2019 is coming to an end, and with it, my time as your TASL President. I would be remiss if I didn’t begin this post by saying that it has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve this organization and each of you, and I’m so grateful to have been entrusted with this role and all its responsibilities. It has been such a great adventure.
Let’s take a moment to recap this exciting year for TASL! Back in January, we represented TASL at the Affiliate Assembly meetings at ALA Midwinter. Next up, we had a very productive day in Nashville advocating for school libraries at Tennessee Library Legislative Day. In April, Blake and I attended the annual conference of the Tennessee Library Association, where we represented TASL in the exhibit hall and made connections with librarians from across the state. We had a whirlwind summer: we spoke at ACE Con in Brentwood, held two fantastic days of professional development, met with legislators and Tennessee Department of Education staff, and attended ALA Annual Conference for more Affiliate Assembly meetings. In September, we held our annual conference in Murfreesboro, and it was a phenomenal three days of learning and fun. We felt particularly thrilled to have our Commissioner of Education, Dr. Penny Schwinn, with us for our Volunteer State Book Awards banquet, along with Miss Tennessee, Brianna Mason. We also had a fantastic turnout of TASL members at AASL Conference in Louisville, Kentucky! It was so much fun to learn alongside so many colleagues from Tennessee and from across the country.
As you may recall, at the beginning of the year, I wrote a blog post about my vision for the year. I wanted us to focus on membership development and advocacy in 2019 – and I believe we’ve made great strides in both areas, thanks to the leadership of our board members. The board typically meets four times a year (or more, as needed) to handle TASL business, make decisions about the future of our organization, and discuss how best to accomplish our goals. If you’d like to see what we’ve been up to in 2019, you can view board meeting minutes on the TASL website.
Our TASL board members have brought us so much to celebrate this year through their hard work and dedication, and I’m so grateful to have worked with such an incredible team. We are working hard to advocate on your behalf all year long and to make sure that TASL membership is an integral part of your experience as a school librarian in Tennessee. I hope you are all proud of the progress we’ve made this year – I know I am!
I am so excited to pass the baton to our 2020 President, Vicki Winstead, and to see all that she will accomplish in the coming year. Our organization is in excellent hands under the leadership of Vicki and the board that she has assembled. Of course, you’re not fully rid of me – I’ll still be serving on the Board as your Past President!
I have been so fortunate to get to know so many of you through this experience, and I have learned more than I could have ever imagined. Tennessee school librarians are talented, resilient, passionate, and just all-around wonderful people. Our organization truly reflects the spirit of the Volunteer state. The work that we do to strengthen school libraries and empower school librarians has an impact on students and educators in our state every day, and it wouldn’t be possible without the enthusiasm and engagement of our members, partners, and leaders. I feel so lucky to be a part of this community, and even luckier to have served as your President. Thank you for the opportunity, and for everything you’ve all contributed to TASL this year!
Jennifer Sharp is a school librarian at John Overton High School in Nashville, TN and the 2019 President of TASL. She will continue on the TASL Board next year as Past President and Standards Committee Co-Chair. She also serves on the AASL Practice Committee and the Volunteer State Book Award Nominating Committee. Be her Twitter friend: @JenniferSharpTN.