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Meet the Candidates

The PSLA Operations Committee would like to introduce you to the candidates who have agreed to serve on the PSLA Board of Directors.  The secretary and directors will serve for a two-year term while the vice president will serve a four-year term.   Serving on the Board of Directors means these individuals will be responsible for assisting the president in developing policies and procedures for the organization in all matters of state and national issues dealing with the school library profession.

Your vote is crucial for maintaining a strong, viable organization. Elections will be held from January 31, 2019 to February 21, 2019.  An email will be sent to all active PSLA members indicating when the election begins as well as directions for voting on the new PSLA website.  Complete biographical information will be included in the online ballot as well as the PSLA website.  As an active member of PSLA, you will be asked to vote for a vice president, treasurer and two directors.  The following information will give you the opportunity to learn more about the candidates including their backgrounds and their vision for PSLA. 

Each candidate addressed the following questions:

  1. PRIORITY GOALS FOR PSLA:   What goals do you think should have top priority for PSLA in 2019-2021?  Please provide your rationale.
  2. LEADERSHIP:  Briefly describe your leadership strengths and include examples if possible.
  3. 2025:  What do you see as the role of the school librarian in 2025?

 

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Seeking Feedback: Copyright: An Interpretation of the ALA Code of Ethics

This is a request for feedback from the ALA Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE). In anticipation of a new edition of The Intellectual Freedom Manual, COPE is in the process of updating professional ethics documents.

COPE would appreciate feedback on "Copyright: An Interpretation of the ALA Code of Ethics" by Wednesday, January 9. The current interpretation was adopted by ALA Council in 2014. Please feel free to share this message widely.

Feedback can be posted in the following two ways:

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"Best of" Lists and Reading Lists from 2018

Happy New Year!! 

It was an amazing year for literature in 2018. As usual, the end of the year brings the annual "best of" lists. Below are a few that may help kick start your 2019 reading list and get you ready for awards season coming in January!

SLJ's The Yarn - Colby Sharp and Travis Yonker share their top reads
Mr. Shu Reads Top List for 2018 - **Coming to PSLA Conference in 2019!!
NPR's Book Concierge - great interactive list for all ages
AND... Don't forget to stay up to date with our own PSLA Lit Review Blog!

 

Happy reading and see you in 2019!

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AASL Best Websites & Apps: Knowledge Quest

Each week the Teaching and Learning Committee plans to highlight one app or website from either the 2018 AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning or the 2018 AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning. Share with any stakeholders who may benefit! 

This week we want to highlight a website by the AASL which is chock full of goodness! The Knowledge Quest website is the perfect spot to get bite-sized information to help you in your library. 

 

Recent posts include:

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Behind the Scenes - AASL Takes PSLA Concerns and Commendations to Heart

"Behind the Scenes" the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Board of Directors discuss local, state and national "concerns" and "commendations" to bring to the American Association of School Librarians Affiliate Assembly bi-annual meetings.  What does this mean?

Statement of Concern

Concerns submitted to the AASL Affiliate Assembly from each of the regions across the United States are important communication links between the AASL Board of Directors and school librarians at the front lines. Concerns enable the AASL Board to keep their fingers on the pulse of the profession across the country and develop strategies for the issues facing the profession.

Presenting the concerns at Affiliate Assembly meetings builds awareness and provides an opportunity for input. Affiliate Delegates are able to network, share, and brainstorm strategies at the state and regional levels. This essential and highly effective process makes the association and Affiliates responsive to the needs of the profession and strong advocates of school library programs across the country.

Statement of Commendation
Commendations are similar to Statements of Concern, the difference is Affiliate Assembly Delegates nominate outstanding programs and events deserving of recognition at the national level. Receiving validation and praise at the national level for successful programs or events that follow the mission and principles of AASL is a powerful advocacy tool.
 
Programs or events must align with AASL's guidelines, mission, and principles as expressed in AASL's mission and vision statements. While many individuals are worthy of recognition, Commendations are limited to programs or events.
 
Commendations recognize programs and events outside of the state's school library organization.

Some concerns and commendations do no make it beyond the Affiliate Assembly; however, PSLA presented one commendation and one concern during Allison Burrell's presidency that were successful. 

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Op-Ed Article from PSLA Board Director

Pennsylvania school librarians: be sure to read the inspiring op-ed article in the Reading Eagle by one of our Board Directors, Ann Schmidt.  Ann is the teacher-librarian at Conrad Weiser High School and plays a crucial role in the school's STEAM initiative. 

 

Behind the Scenes - PSLA Mission, Vision & Strategic Priorities

 "Behind the Scenes" the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Board of Directors reviews and updates the PSLA strategic priorities every three to five years to identify critical issues impacting PSLA and its members, as well as the library field, in general.

During the PSLA Summit in July 2018, thirty-four representatives worked with consultant Michael Kumer from Boards Made to Order to review our mission, vision, and strategic priorities.  After a lively and passionate full day of discussion, collaboration and consensus building, we walked away with a framework from which to craft a final document.

The difficult work continued through August and September with eleven volunteers, in a Tier I and Tier II review structure, who brought multiple voices and a broad range of perspectives to finalize the project. 

On October 6th, 2018, the PSLA Board approved the following:

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Reasons to Join PSLA: The Impact of a Professional Organization and the Importance of Legislative Advocacy

The Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA)  represents the interests of its members through collegial networking, professional development, and intensive advocacy efforts to ensure that all Pennsylvania students and teachers have access to an effective school library program with appropriately trained staff as stated in the American Association of School Librarians’ position statements. To that end, PSLA recently endorsed the library staffing certification guidelines established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) that state that school districts “must employ at least one certified Library Science educator when providing a school library program.”

Using nationally required data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Keith Curry Lance (2018, March) found that between 2009-10 and 2015-16, Pennsylvania ranked 6th among the states that lost the largest numbers of school librarians (p. 37). Although PDE publishes staffing guidelines, staffing decisions are controlled by local school districts and their boards. Local control, unfortunately, has caused vast inequities across the 500 Pennsylvania school districts in terms of access to effective school library programs with certified librarians. According to PSLA’s 2017-18 staffing survey, 22 districts in Pennsylvania no longer employ school librarians and 115 district have only one librarian for the entire district. These districts represent 27% of all Pennsylvania school districts—a statistic that increases each year as librarian positions are eliminated.

Since the recession, PSLA has intensified its engagement and prioritized legislative advocacy to staunch the loss of school libraries and librarians. The PA General Assembly is the largest, full-time state legislature in the nation with 203 Representatives and 50 Senators. Therefore, educating these decision makers is an enormous and ongoing job, especially as legislators change with elections and redistricting.

Large, professional organizations that care about education, such as PSEA and PaPTA, carry a great deal of influence due to the size of their membership, particularly with state legislators who control school funding. It is critical that PSLA maintains a robust membership in order to advocate for school library programs. It is understandable, however, that school librarians want to be sure that their PSLA dues are making a difference and they are getting a return for their membership dollars. The following outlines PSLA accomplishments and the many resources it provides. Member participation and dues enable this work.

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Why Is It Important to Encourage Voting in the 2018 Mid-Term Elections

Why Is It Important to Encourage Voting in the 2018 Mid-Term Elections

 (And What Does that Have to Do with School Libraries)?

October 9 - Deadline to register to vote (new voter) or update your registration (recently moved and need to change your address and polling place). Application Link.

October 30 – Deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for those unable to appear in person at their polling place (college students not living at home, disabled/medical, vacationing or traveling for business, etc.)

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AASL Best Websites & Apps: Libby

Each week the Teaching and Learning Committee plans to highlight one app or website from either the 2018 AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning or the 2018 AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning. Share with any stakeholders who may benefit! 

Want to send one final Library Card Sign-Up Month reminder out to folks? Remind them to use Libby for their ebook app needs! 

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Behind the Scenes - PSLA Delegates @ the AASL Affiliate Assembly

"Behind the Scenes" the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association has two voting  Delegates on the Affiliate Assembly of American Association of School Librarians (AASL). We are part of Region 2, which includes PA, NY, NJ, MD, DE and DC. In addition to providing PSLA with a voice at the national level, sending representatives to these meetings provides PSLA added opportunities to apply for grants and awards.

The purpose the the Affiliate Assembly is described below:

According to the AASL Bylaws, “the purposes of the Affiliate Assembly are to provide a channel of communication for reporting concerns of the affiliated organizations and their membership to the AASL Board of Directors; to facilitate discussion of activities and concerns of the AASL as reported by the AASL president, Executive Director and Board of Directors; and to report the actions of the AASL to the Affiliates.”  

Made up of 48 school library organizations from 45 states, the Affiliate Assembly serves as the representation of AASL’s (number) members. Each year, the Affiliate Assembly gathers for two meetings at both ALA Midwinter Meeting and ALA Annual Conference to handle official tasks such as voting on Concerns and Commendations, share best practices and knowledge, and learn about AASL activities and initiatives. 

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AASL Best Websites & Apps: Tinkercad

Each week the Teaching and Learning Committee plans to highlight one app or website from either the 2018 AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning or the 2018 AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning. Share with any stakeholders who may benefit! 

As STEAM concepts move into younger grades, this week we feature a way to imagine "from mind to design in minutes" with Tinkercad.

Use Tinkercad’s CAD software to design 3D objects, such as prototypes, toys, practical tools, replacement parts, Minecraft models, jewelry, and more. Users can create objects from scratch with the site’s building blocks, from the extensive collection of community designs, or by importing and modifying 2D or 3D object files. Help and tutorials support beginning users. Teachers of younger students can create invite codes for accounts and monitor student work. Users can share designs in the community and do collaborative work, and designs can be exported for 3D printing. Grades 2 and up. 

Personal Comments (from Dustin): I know that our secondary students have used this software and website for years, but I am excited to try with our elementary students, who clearly are already adept at 3D thinking with Minecraft, Legos, and other virtual worlds.

Submitted by: Anne Bozievich
PSLA Teaching & Learning Committee

Behind the Scenes: PSLA and Quantum Communications

"Behind the Scenes" our Association has an ongoing contract with Kevin Harley from Quantum Communications to provide PSLA with counsel on strategic communications and government affairs.

In an effort to support the mission of PSLA and more importantly our members' interests, the PSLA President and President-Elect meet with Kevin through bi-weekly phone conferences to identify targeted areas of need and to strategically communicate with stakeholders. In addition, Kevin strategizes with Deb Kachel, the PSLA Legislative Liaison, and takes part in key meetings of the Association.

Strategic Communications:

Among the activities that Quantum provides are the writing, design and distribution of the quarterly PSLA newsletter. The newsletter is emailed to PSLA members, as well as to all members of the general assembly. It also is sent to school board members, superintendents and principals for whom public emails are available. The purpose of the newsletter is primarily to educate policymakers on the important role that school librarians play in educating our children. Additionally, Quantum helps to write, edit and place op/eds by school librarians and school librarian advocates in newspapers across the state. Quantum also will promote the work of a particular school or librarian to a specific reporter.

Government Affairs:

Quantum helps to promote PSLA’s legislative agenda. An example is the introduction of HB 740, a bill that would require each public school in the state to employ at least one professional librarian. The legislation obtained nearly 40 co- sponsors, which for first-time legislation is outstanding. Quantum also has scheduled and arranged school library visits and tours for key legislators. Among them have been the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, as well as the House Education Chairman. We have a library tour scheduled for the full House Education Committee on October 9 at PSLA President Allison Mackley’s library at Hershey High School. Additionally, Quantum helped to schedule and organize a House Education hearing on the importance of school libraries. Quantum is currently working to gain more support for PSLA’s legislation in the House and, at the same time, getting companion legislation introduced in the Senate.

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AASL Best Websites & Apps: Be Internet Awesome!

Each week the Teaching and Learning Committee plans to highlight one app or website from either the 2018 AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning or the 2018 AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning. Share with any stakeholders who may benefit! 

This week, as we begin the year and start making choices for teaching digital citizenship lessons, I selected Google's Be Internet Awesome!

Be Internet Awesome offers elementary school students a path to digital citizenship and a way to become smart and safe users of the Internet. They will enjoy participating in the game Interland, and traversing Reality River, Mindful Mountain, Tower of Treasure, and Kind Kingdom to learn the fundamentals of online ethical use and safety. Additional resources for parents and educators are included. Grades 2-5.

Personal Comments:  This site offers an engaging and easy to navigate world, with lessons that are age appropriate and connected. The Interland is a visually appealing way to practice and discuss online safety, secure content, cyber-bullying, and mindful behavior. No account is needed to start and users can return repeatedly. Problem solving games help keep students motivated, and the mini lessons are presented to inform rather than scare. Explore, and Be Awesome!

Submitted by: Dustin Brackbill
PSLA Teaching & Learning Committee
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A Profile in Advocacy - Jayne Downing

My path crossed Jayne Downing’s when I attended an APSL meeting years ago to talk about advocacy. APSL was the Association of Philadelphia School Librarians, now defunct since there are approximately only 5 school librarians left in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). Jayne has been a school librarian in several city schools for 34 years at elementary and middle school levels. She earned her MLS from Clarion and is nationally board certified (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards) in both Early Childhood through Young Adult and Library Media (not easy!).

During her time at SDP, Jayne has seen a thriving school library department and program reduced to almost nothing. Years ago, SDP eliminated the classification of “school librarian” and all librarians were classed as “teachers.” This allowed the district to hide the number of actual librarians in the district. As principals, tasked with site-based decision-making, had to make difficult choices among nurses, counselors, and librarians, more and more principals cut school librarian positions, especially as librarians retired. In fact, finding out how many librarians still exist in the district is extremely difficult due to the classification change. The 2017-18 figure in the chart below is an anecdotally gathered number as the district cannot confirm it.

In 2016, when Jayne served as a full-time librarian, Jayne’s school, the Penn Alexander (K-8) School, a K-8 public school for 560 West Philadelphia children, was named a National Blue Ribbon School. Penn Alexander is a partnership school and financially-supported ($1330 per student) by the University of Pennsylvania. In the past two years, however, Jayne’s schedule has been changed to include more reading and English assigned classes, reducing the amount of time the library is accessible to all students.

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Here's what's happening this week...

For many of us, the first week of September means the start of another school-year and the re-opening of our school libraries. This week also has some exciting events for all school librarians.

The September issue of District Administration Magazine features a 2-page advertorial which highlights how the new AASL National School Library Standards can help districts prepare their students for life-long learning. Be sure to share this article with your administrators via the direct link, or you can print out copies of the article to place directly in their hands. Visit AASL's Libraries Transform Campaign page for complete details, as well as access to helpful tools to help educate stakeholders about the importance of libraries.


 

Set your watches for these two great webinars this week:

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AASL Standards Crosswalks

If you follow Shannon McClintock Miller's blog, The Library Voice, you may have heard the good news...the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has released two crosswalks for their National School Library Standards! One is a crosswalk for the Future Ready Librarian Framework, and the other is a crosswalk for the ISTE Standards for Learners and Educators

You can download PDF's of each of these crosswalks from the AASL website.  In 2019, we can look forward to these crosswalks being web-based with helpful filtering and searching capabilities.

New School Year..New Standards

As you gear-up for a successful 2018-2019 year in your school library, be sure to take advantage of the tools available to align your teaching to the new AASL National School Library Standards.  Through funding from the Library Services and Technology Act, PSLA and the University of Pittsburgh have already begun training sessions around Pennsylvania to help you implement these standards into your school library program. Full details can be found on our AASL Standards Training website.

 

If you were lucky enough to attend our 2018 Pre-Conference, you experienced a valuable working-session on AASL Standards with our current President, Allison Mackley and Past President, Jennifer Bates.  Click here to see the innovative and inspirational project posters which were created by participants as they collaborated on implementing the standards into their library program.

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Librarian Cuts - It's that Time of Year Unfortunately!

Sadly, it is in April and May that I begin to get emails for panicked school librarians that staffing cuts have just been announced that will decimate school library programs for students and staff. Most librarian who contact me are completely surprised at the totally unexpected cuts and are so flummoxed that they have no idea what to do in response to the announcement. After having written so many emails on this situation, I am curating the best advice and sources here.

BEST ARTICLE (from a school librarian who fought this battle and won):

Fighting Cuts: How To Keep Librarians in Schools.” SLJ.com, April 3, 2018. Advice form Elissa Malespina, a teacher librarian at Somerville (NJ) Middle School and president of International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Librarians Network. 

Read the article and/or watch the 45-minute webinar at https://AntiochLIS.libguides.com/schlibcert/librncuts.

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Donegal High School Library Hosts Rep. Hickernell

 

    

On December 14, Sara Frazier, librarian at Donegal High School (Mount Joy, PA), hosted a visit by Pennsylvania state Representative Dave Hickernell, a Republican serving parts of Lancaster and Dauphin counties who is also the Chair of the PA House Education Committee. Also attending were Cathi Fuhrman, PSLA Vice President, and Kevin Harley, PSLA’s communication strategist from Quantum Communications who helped to schedule the visit. Donegal’s Superintendent, Michael Lausch also visited with the Representative in the library. During the hour-long visit, Rep. Hickernell was most impressed with the technology in use in the library and how instruction is embedded in the school’s curriculum. He watched Sara teach a lesson on using Gale databases as part of a social studies unit. Sara reported that Rep. Hickernell seemed very impressed with what a school library offers to the school’s students in this small, middle-income, rural community which he represents.

The Donegal Library Program is well supported by its administrators. Each of its four schools has a full-time librarian with library assistants. In recent years, the high school library received a grant plus district money to refresh the look of the high school library to make a more inviting atmosphere for its teenagers. Sara, a “graduate” of the PSLA-University of Pittsburgh Sustaining Leaders Academy, is a strong school library advocate, maintains a nicely designed LibGuide website (http://libguides.donegalsd.org/dhslibrary), and is actively engaged in the instructional program at Donegal. Watch the short video “A Typical Day in the Library” on the library website.

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