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Joyce Valenza receives AASL Distinguished Service Award

Joyce Valenza receives AASL Distinguished Service Award

CHICAGO – Joyce Valenza, assistant teaching professor of library and information science at Rutgers University, is the recipient of the 2019 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Distinguished Service Award. Sponsored by The Rosen Publishing Group, the $3,000 award recognizes an individual member of the library profession who has, over a significant period, made an outstanding national contribution to school librarianship and school library development.


After teaching for over two decades at Springfield Township (Pennsylvania) High School library, Valenza joined the faculty at Rutgers University’s Library and Information Science Department. In that capacity, she advises students on research projects that promote a better understanding of the impact of high-performing library programs on student learning. 

“Her scholarly contribution is enormous,” Ross Todd wrote in his letter of endorsement. “To date she has published 5 books, 10+ peer-reviewed papers, 9+ book chapters, 60+ articles in professional journals. This represents a distinguished level of leadership through scholarly work.”

“Joyce possesses encyclopedic knowledge of the research in our field,” wrote Michelle Luhtala in her nomination. “I stealthily take notes of names, studies, and publications she mentions in conversation knowing that if it is on her radar, it is worth reading. Among her many, many areas of expertise are literacies. Joyce examines, reexamines, rethinks, reframes these as our roles and affiliated technologies evolve.”

Valenza has served on AASL’s Best Apps for Teaching and Learning Committee and AASL’s Community of Scholars Task Force.  In 2017, Valenza was recognized as an inaugural AASL Social Media Superstar: Leadership Luminary.

“The common remark that our committee shared was that Joyce was future ready before' ‘future ready librarian,’” said Liz Deskins, award committee chair “She has been sharing, leading, encouraging, and challenging thousands of school librarians to keep striving to stay current and try new things. We thank you for all you’ve taught us, Joyce.”

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony during the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The ceremony will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 22. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.

ALA/AASL Elections 2019

The ALA election is now open!  #castyourvote

Check your email for your ballot. You may cast your vote through April 3, 2019, 11:59 PM Central time. Be sure to check off your fellow AASL candidates for ALA Council!   

Two PSLA members are also on the ballot.  

  • Allison Mackley, PSLA President, AASL Region 2 Director
  • Joyce Valenza, ALA Council

Seeking Feedback: Challenged Resources Interpretation

The ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) is looking for feedback in anticipation of a new edition of The Intellectual Freedom Manual, the IFC is in the process of updating intellectual freedom-related documents.

The IFC would appreciate feedback on "Challenged Resources: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights" by Monday, January 7. The interpretation was adopted by ALA Council in 1971, and amended in 1981, 1990, 2009, and 2014. Please feel free to share this message widely.

Feedback can be posted in the following two ways:

  • Post feedback on this Google Doc draft. The IFC requests that you post comments on the document, rather than edit the document directly. To post a comment, select "Insert" in the top menu, and then click "Comment." Comments may be posted anonymously (if you're not signed into a Google account) or publicly (if you're signed into your Google account).
  • Using "track changes," add comments and edits to the attached Word doc draft. You can email it to me ([email protected]) or post it as a comment to this ALA Connect post, and I'll forward it to working group members.

A note about paragraph four of the draft: This quote is from the current "Diversity in Collection Development" interpretation, last amended in 2014. It does not reflect the revisions proposed in the interpretation draft that was sent to the library community. The quoted material in "Challenged Resources" may be altered if the revisions for "Diversity in Collection Development" are adopted.

The Intellectual Freedom Committee will make revisions to the draft in light of your suggestions and plans to distribute the document to ALA Council prior to the Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. The committee also plans to present it at ALA Council Forum for further feedback.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions, and please let me know if you have any questions,


Julia Warga, Chair
Intellectual Freedom Committee
[email protected]

Feedback Wanted for New Library Bill of Rights

 Feedback Wanted for New Library Bill of Rights

The Intellectual Freedom Manual Review Working Group has recommended updating the Library Bill of Rights in a narrow manner to add an Article VII focused on the concept of ensuring privacy and confidentiality for library users. As a result, The Intellectual Freedom Committee would appreciate feedback on this article draft by Dec. 21. Post feedback by using this Google Doc link. The IFC requests that you post comments on the document, rather than edit the document directly. To post a comment, select “Insert” in the top menu, and then click “Comment.” Comments may be posted anonymously or publicly.

PSLA Member Selected For ALA Leadership Institute

Allison Mackley, librarian at Hershey High School, is one of only 40 librarians selected from a highly competitive national pool to participate in ALA Leadership Institute: Leading to the Future, a new four-day immersive leadership development program for future library leaders offered in August by the American Library Association (ALA).

Allison is a National Board Certified teacher-librarian who is actively involved at the local and state levels to promote library program services, to foster teacher leadership, to build professional learning networks, and to embrace 21st century teaching and learning.  Allison acknowledges the changing role of librarians, and in her collaborative partnerships, she has advocated for an integrated and relevant curriculum that will empower students to reach their greatest potential as digital and information literate citizens.   When asked what she hopes to bring back to Hershey High School, Allison responded, "I hope to find more effective ways to honor the strengths of others.  By doing so, there is a greater chance for distributive leadership and collegiality that is necessary in order to create innovative and necessary change.  Overall, I believe you should do work with others.  Lift each other up.  Celebrate the accomplishments."
The selection committee looked for a diverse participant mix based on type of library (public, academic, school, or special library), professional responsibility, geography, gender, and race/ethnicity, as well as demonstrated leadership potential, readiness for increased responsibility, professional achievement, and community or campus involvement.  Participants are expected to return to their library equipped with new skills for leading, coaching, collaborating, and engaging within their organizations and in the communities they serve, and prepared to identify, develop, and implement solutions which benefit everyone.

Led by leadership experts Maureen Sullivan (2012–2013 ALA President) and Kathryn Deiss (Content Strategist for the Association of College and Research Libraries), the institute takes place in August and is designed to help participants develop and practice their leadership skills so they can better help the libraries and the communities they serve thrive in a future that promises continued turbulence and uncertainty.