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Behind the Scenes: Change is Mandatory

Behind the Scenes - Change is Mandatory - Growth is Optional

“Change is Mandatory, Growth is Optional.” (Author Unknown although many have used this quote.)

This has always been one of my favorite quotes. One that I have to say aloud for myself many times as well.  When I was thinking back to June 20, 2019, I had expectations and visions of what my presidential year in PSLA would be like. But as in all things - it’s never quite as you imagined.

Our world is nothing like we could have ever even guessed or planned for. Our schools, our libraries, our families, our communities, our social circles, our profession, our association - our world has changed.

My heart aches with that our students missed this school year. It aches for the students who were and continue to be impacted by the pandemic - academically, socially, emotionally, physically and financially. Their families and all around us are impacted each day.

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June 22, 2020 - #SaveSchoolLibrarians Day

We face a crisis! Right now, school boards across Pennsylvania are voting to eliminate school library programs and librarians in next year’s budgets. Now, more than ever, it’s critical to amplify and define our roles in effective school reopening plans whether online or in-person. All students deserve equitable school library opportunities. This message must reach all stakeholders before short-sighted cuts lead to long-term educational inequities.

Step up and lead on behalf of all students! The PSLA Advocacy Committee has created sharable “card” messages to be used in social media posts. The “cards” succinctly convey that all K-12 students benefit from an effective school library program and a certified school librarian. Card images are located in this Flickr album. You will find Social Media Storm: Suggested Posts you can use as well as blank cards for customized visuals.

Take action now!Sign! Tweet! Retweet! Post! Repost!

  1. Go to and sign and share the “PSLA Open Letter to School Boards Across Pennsylvania” and share it with others.

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School Libraries are Virtually Open

Our recent video contest called “The School Library is Always Open!” had so many great videos submitted that we decided to feature them all on YouTube! Thank you to everyone who participated. Please share to stakeholders, administrators and others to celebrate the great work that school librarians did during the COVID-19 school closure and how we impact students digitally!  Thanks to EveryLibrary for helping PSLA sponsor this contest!




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Reopening Plans - Let's Share!

We know that schools are beginning to discuss re-opening plans. Some school librarians have been asked for ideas, protocols and plans. However, some school librarians are not part of the conversation.

In an effort to share ideas, strengthen our positions in our schools and to advocate for keeping school libraries OPEN – we have created a space for anyone who has developed a plan, protocol, procedure or ideas to SHARE them. This is what we do BEST! 

Please upload a PDF or Word Document of your Re-Opening Plan that you are willing to share with other school librarians. Please provide your email address IN THE PLAN as well as the form if you would also be willing to answer questions from other librarians through email.


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Behind the Scenes: Town Hall Followup

Behind the Scenes – Just Info – Just Links – Just Awesome

This Behind the Scenes is a no frills – no graphics – no quotes from me - update.

I know many of you are anxious for the links for the Town Hall Meeting from last week – but please keep reading – Save the date for the Business Meeting, the Model Curriculum on SAS, an exciting video contest to win Amazon gift cards and AASL Town Hall meetings all follow.

PSLA Town Hall Meeting - April 21, 2020

Thanks to all who attended the Town Hall Meeting. We are so excited that we had over 150 attendees. The Chat Transcript is filled with ideas and links that you don’t want to miss. PLEASE fill out the evaluation form so that we can determine if there is enough interest to continue to hold virtual town halls. We are considering another meeting in May – but we need to hear from you.

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Behind the Scenes: Braver, Stronger, Smarter

As I write this Behind the Scenes in the times we’re living in, it’s easy to think about what could have been. We all are mourning tasks or events we thought we’d be doing at this time in the school year –  
Braver Quote

  • Preparing for the PSLA Annual Conference
  • Advertising a spring book fair
  • Writing an award speech or award acceptance speech for annual conference
  • Volunteering for spring musicals and school concerts
  • Preparing for an author visit in your school
  • Developing lessons for that awesome project you planned with a teacher
  • Reading reviews and selecting titles for one last book order this year
  • Developing your first or your tenth annual conference presentation
  • Finishing or planning inventory in your library
  • Working with students face to face and helping them choose the best books or find the most important information
  • Trying out new Makerspace ideas or sharing a new app with students
  • Promoting summer reading programs or your own summer library program
  • Getting ready to collect books and overdue materials (maybe you’re not missing this)

Or more personal events – a special birthday, a wedding, a celebration, visits with family – maybe even retirement parties for yourself or your colleagues.

We never could have imagined we’d be here. Myself, I was not prepared to walk my presidential journey in this format. However, I went back to my first Behind the Scenes from July 24 and I found that I wrote this:

“We are a profession of doers – educators who work hard to BE the answer.

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Model Curriculum Update Announcement


The Pennsylvania School Librarians Association is pleased to announce the

The Model Curriculum for Learners in Pennsylvania School Libraries (2019)

Between May and September of 2019, the Model Curriculum Committee developed The Model Curriculum for Learners in Pennsylvania School Libraries as an update and expansion of Stage 1 of The Model Curriculum for PA School Library Programs published in 2012by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Pennsylvania Department of Education.

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Behind the Scenes: Just OK is NOT OK! We’ve Got Your Back!

Just OK is Not OKEven if you were unable to attend the Rally to Restore Philadelphia School Librarians on January 24 in front of the School District of Philadelphia’s administration building, hopefully you’ve been following both PSLA’s news as well as the state and national media coverage. With 150 or more attending the rally, I was honored to speak for PSLA and all school librarians in Pennsylvania to put the issue of the loss of school librarians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the nation in the spotlight.

This rally did not happen without the enormous help of PSLA’s partnership with EveryLibrary (John Chrastka and Patrick Sweeney) who helped us enlist Lauren Comito (LJ Librarian of the Year) as our emcee. EveryLibrary's experience and expertise for a rally enabled PSLA to consider the idea of holding a rally during ALA’s MidWinter Conference and then led us through every step to make it happen successfully. Of course, PSLA’s work was done through the never-ending determination of our State and Local Advocacy Committee, particularly our co-chairs, Deb Kachel and Robin Burns, PSLA President-Elect. We also partnered with the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS), many of whom are former teachers and school librarians from School District of Philadelphia, helping us secure from Philadelphia, a city council member, teacher, school librarian and a high school student on our list of speakers. Kevin Harley and Quantum Communications rounded out the team to ensure that we had legislators speaking and attending as well as local media coverage.

As a PSLA member, regardless of our own situations, we all want adequate staffing of certified school librarians in all schools in Pennsylvania. If you are not part of School District of Philadelphia you might be wondering what the rally means to the other 499 school districts.

First, the media coverage we received has truly brought this issue to stakeholders beyond the Philadelphia geographic area. We are using this momentum to speak for all 500 districts to demand that our students receive equitable access to certified school librarians with quality school library program.

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Behind the Scenes: Sharing Your Gifts

Behind the Scenes: Sharing Your Gifts

Dear PSLA Members-

As I write my first PSLA Pulse as president of the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, I can’t help but reflect back to when I became a student member in 1992. As a nontraditional student at Millersville University and under the tutelage of Dr. Marge Tassia, becoming a PSLA membership was an easy choice for me. A few years later as a middle school librarian I recall reading a letter in Learning and Media (previously PSLA’s quarterly journal) by President Sally Myers. She expressed how important it was for all PSLA members to answer the call to volunteer in order to keep the school library profession and the association vibrant and healthy. I was inspired to join my first PSLA committee that year. 

Fast forward to July 2019. Eighty PSLA members spent a hot, summer July day in Hershey, PA answering the same call at the 2019 PSLA Summit. The excitement and energy in the room as we worked to strategize and plan for each of the PSLA committees for the upcoming year was and always is inspiring and fills me with pride for our association. The work that these Committee Co-chairs and members do during the Summit and throughout the year has a huge impact on what the association has to offer PSLA members and all school librarians in Pennsylvania. There is no way to describe this impact in this short space. From communications, professional development opportunities, local and state advocacy efforts, a quality annual conference, recognition of outstanding school librarians and stakeholders, quality literature reviews to the governance and operations of our association - it takes a large team of committed and passionate volunteers to keep PSLA moving forward. But what I want all PSLA members to know is that getting involved in our association committees, task groups and leadership opens your own eyes to the limitless ways we can all work to make our profession better.  Stepping up and volunteering in PSLA is rewarding for the association but also for all of us as individuals. Personal growth is always a benefit when we work together as a team. It also reinforces the theory that many hands make small work! I know that ALL librarians have special talents and gifts. Whatever they may be – I’m sure we can use them to impact PSLA, school librarians and Pennsylvania students.

Speaking of stepping up and volunteering... I’m honored to announce that Sandy Reilly, from Pleasant Valley High School, Pleasant Valley School District, will be the new PSLA treasurer for the remainder of the 2019-2020 term. The PSLA Board is very excited about Sandy‘s willingness to serve PSLA in this new capacity and share her expertise. Sandy has given her time and talent to PSLA in many ways since she has been a member through the conference committee, the LSTA leadership academies, conference presenter and through her local affiliate.

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