Speaking up for School Librarians

VAASL in Action: Speaking up for School Librarians

Patrice Lambusta, VAASL President

On Friday, June 4th, VAASL’s executive board, school librarians from all regions, library educators from Longwood and ODU, and librarian supervisors joined forces and met with Virginia’s Secretary of Education, Atif Qarni, in an hour-long Strategy Session. Our goal was to advocate for the important role librarians serve with distance learning, as well as the physical school library program.

Secretary Qarni gave us two guiding questions prior to our meeting. Rachel Kirkland from the Potomac Region, created a Google form for members of the team to answer those questions. She then categorized the responses into recurrent themes and talking points.

Audrey Church and Lori Donovan each took one question and summarized the responses. We used these summations to formulate the crux of our meeting.  Librarians on the team gave specific supportive evidence based on their experiences this year, which included best practices and a myriad of ways librarians have met the needs of their patrons. Secretary Qarni was very gracious and engaged, and asked the team many intuitive questions. He requested documents and data to support our information which VAASL promptly submitted to his office.

One of the added bonuses that came out of the meeting with Mr. Qarni, is all Virginia librarians now have an advocacy tool to share with their stakeholders. Laurie Bolt and her Advocacy Committee designed a fantastic infographic illustrating the readiness of school librarians to meet every need.

School librarians do not exist in a bubble, we are constantly evolving and adapting to new challenges including the world of remote learning. At the state level, VAASL will continue to shine a light on the unique role of the school librarian and the services we provide students and teachers every day. We are truly #VAASLready.

Advocacy Infographic

Laurie Bolt, Advocacy Committee Chair

Advocacy continues to be an important responsibility for all librarians. Recently several Virginia Librarians, as well as the VAASL Executive Board had the opportunity to meet with Secretary of Education, Atif Qarni. During our planning meetings it was determined that an infographic filled with information about librarians supporting learners would be a great take-away to share with Secretary Qarni. That weekend I met with an amazing group of colleagues, Ida Mae Craddock, Lori Donovan, Kendel Lively, and Linda Mitchell. Over the course of several Zoom meetings, phone calls, and collaborative documents we created an infographic sharing that Virginia Librarians are READY to support learning anywhere. The infographic includes the AASL National Standards and roles of a librarian as well as skills supporting the Virginia Learns Anywhere initiative.


We are excited to share the collaborative efforts of our team. We hope that you will take advantage of this resource as you advocate with your administration, colleagues and communities. 

Download your copy of the infographic poster.

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