I’m fresh back from the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, and am exhausted, filled to the brim with learning, and weighted down once again with quite a bit of exhibit hall swag! The American Association of School Librarians is a division of the American Library Association, and SCASL, if you did not know, is a founding member of the American Association of School Librarians Affiliate Assembly. In accordance with our SCASL bylaws, we send our SCASL leadership, two voting delegates and a “delegate in training,” to the ALA Annual Conference each year. This year it was SCASL President Cindy Symonds, President-elect Cathy Jo Nelson (me), and the incoming President Elect, Heather Thore to the conference.
— AASL (@aasl) June 23, 2017
AASL Affiliate Assembly
What is it? It’s made up of state and regional organizations that are currently affiliated with AASL, and as of today there are nine regions. Regional activities are coordinated by a Regional Representative and each region is represented on the AASL Board of Directors by a Regional Director. It is made up of two voting delegates per state or regional organization recognized as affiliated with AASL. South Carolina is a part of Region 4. It is exciting right now to be a part of this, as Dr. Heather Moorefield-Lang of the University of South Carolina recently ran for and was elected to be our Region 4 Director in the recent ALA Elections. Region Four includes state organization from South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.
Affiliate Assembly Meetings at ALA
At the annual conference there are three events held at ALA Annual Conference specifically for AASL’s Affiliate Assembly. The first one, the AASL Affiliate Assembly Leadership Summit, takes place somewhat as a pre-conference training event, followed by two sessions, Affiliate Assembly I that takes place that same day later in the evening, and then Affiliate Assembly II on a different day. Traditionally they use the same day/time format each year, respectively, and all members are expected to attend Meetings I and II. I may be mistaken, but I believe the meetings are open for observation for non delegate attendees.
- AASL Affiliate Assembly Leadership Summit – The First Meeting
The Affiliate Assembly Leadership Conference is a four hour leadership training, and it is geared primarily toward the new Affiliate Assembly Members, who are provided an Affiliate Assembly Leadership handbook and are introduced to the AASL Affiliate Assembly governing body and its members and AASL Staff, who each take time to speak to the group. Many returning Affiliate Assembly delegates attend this one each year, as hearing from and interacting with the leadership team never gets old, and often one can learn just as much attending again. In this year’s Summit, AASL Leadership spoke on initiatives affecting or impacting school library programming, including ESSA and the School Librarian, Librarians Transform (Public Awareness Office campaign), the upcoming AASL Conference, locating and accessing leadership tools from AASL, and how to get involved. There were many teasers shared about the library standards slated for reveal at the November AASL Conference, and affiliates were encouraged to offer a pre-sale of these new AASL Standards for School Librarians, as well as sign up for the Pre-Conference invitation only session to introduce them in Phoenix. Last, members were encouraged to share library success stories for potential printing in AASL’s Blog, Knowledge Quest.
- AASL Affiliate Meeting I
In this two hour meeting all the delegates come together, and the meeting is run like a board meeting, using Robert’s Rules and reading the minutes for the last meeting (from ALA Midwinter.) The group is given a refresher on using the communication avenue (ALA Connect) as needed, and then the business of Affiliate Assembly is addressed. In this meeting we spent time reviewing the approved concerns and commendations submitted by the entire Affiliate Assembly. Concerns and Commendations are solicited earlier in the year and submitted to the Chair. The Affiliate Assembly Board reads and approves these for review by the Affiliate Assembly. Each region is charged with reading over them and discussing as a group, asking questions and getting clarifying information. This is done in preparation for the third meeting.
- Affiliate Assembly II
This four hour meeting is also run as a traditional board meeting, but the task at hand for this one is to vote on commendations and concerns. There are two voting members per organization, and the SCASL members voting were SCASL President Cindy Symonds and SCASL President Elect Cathy Jo Nelson(me). Items voted successfully are sent on the the governing board for review and action.
SCASL Can Celebrate!
Good News from our interactions at ALA/AASL Affiliate Assembly includes that Cathy Jo Nelson was elected to assume the role of Region 4 Chairperson for the next Affiliate Assembly Fiscal Year. Current Misti Jenkins is rolling off when her term as President of the Kentucky Association of School Librarians ends. We had one of our commendations approved, which commend the Columbia Fireflies Baseball Team Reading Program. SCASL is bragged on at Affiliate Assembly every year for bringing into the meetings the incoming president elect who has yet to assume office. The purpose of bringing this non-voting member to Affiliate Assembly Meetings (who for us this year is Heather Thore, incoming president-elect for SCASL) is to provide mentorship in preparation for his or her active participation at the next Affiliate Assembly Meeting.
I hope I have not misrepresented anything from conference thus far, but if I have, please set me straight in the comments. My next post will share specifics that SCASL Leadership enjoyed or learned at this conference.