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Monday, March 13, 2017

Questing for Knowledge: An Online PLN Opportunity with Region 6 AASL Board Candidate

Professional Development Opportunity for Region 6 
by Lauren Mabry, Candidate, Region 6 Director for AASL Board
     Co-Librarian, United World College-USA, Montezuma, NM

IF you are an AASL/ALA member, please vote in the election. Ballots are live now until April 5 - every vote counts!


As librarians, we juggle a rainbow of balls and wear hat upon hat to offer the very best library program possible to our students—so much so, that it can be difficult to find time for professional development with our colleagues.  I’d like to elaborate on an idea that I had for promoting professional development within Region 6 if I am elected as Region Directoran online professional journal reading group. 

This reading group would meet asynchronously and center on Knowledge Quest, the official journal of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).  While the online platform is yet to be determined, an asynchronous format would allow librarians to participate when it is most convenient for them rather than trying to find a common meeting time, a Herculean task when time zones and myriad busy schedules are considered.  We would center our discussions around Knowledge Quest because it focuses on issues pertinent to school librarians, and it is a direct communication line between AASL and school librarians.  I had initially thought to use professional books rather than a journal as group’s reading material, but revised my idea upon further reflection.  I am confident that each of us can find and read at least one personally relevant article per issue of Knowledge Quest and, as a result, be able to contribute to the group discussion.  Furthermore, journal publishers can rapidly respond to new developments to provide timely advice on hot topics such as ESSA and the new AASL standards that will be unveiled this summer. 

You can subscribe to the print edition of Knowledge Quest in two ways: by purchasing the subscription independently, or by joining AASL.  Why become a member of AASL?  As a member, you have access to a rich variety of professional development resources, opportunities, and supports: a suite of amazing advocacy materials, opportunities for national committee membership and professional service, eligibility for grants and awards for both you and your library, free professional development webinars and materials, and much more.  You have the opportunity to connect with librarians across the country, to develop your professional learning network, and to guide the profession by voting in AASL annual elections.  Member discounts are available at the ALA store and for national conference registration.  Capstone Publishing even offers members 10,000 rewards points redeemable for free books through the Capstone Rewards Program.  Most importantly, your membership fees support government lobbyists as they advocate for school libraries and the library profession to lawmakers, an especially important task as ESSA is implemented across the country.  Membership fees also support the Office for Intellectual Freedom, an essential voice and resource for protecting freedom of information access. There are tiered membership rates depending on your employment status and length of membership, and even bridge scholarships available to help with membership fees.  I have found membership to be personally and professional enriching, and highly recommend joining AASL to all school librarians. 

If you are interested in participating in a Region 6 online professional journal reading group, I invite you to show your support by voting for me in the 2017 AASL Region 6 Director election and/or by following me on Twitter at @Library_Lauren for reading group details and updates.

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