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« Engage or entertain? | Main | Evaluating teachers »

The president on standards

AASL President, Sara Kelly Johns, that is.

Sara left this comment in response to Paula Yohe's guest blog entry a few days ago. I thought it deserved a more prominent place on this blog. She is the president, after all. (And I'm thinking we might all want to start getting used to saying Madam President.)

Hi, Doug, et al-- [I think you Blue Skunk readers are the et al. Get over it.]

The Learning Assessment and Indicators Task Force is working diligently to do just what you are saying needs to be done...those pieces were   never intended to be part of the standards themselves though the writing team did work on them already as part of the writing process.

That work is the core of what they are doing now. MUCH progress was made in the face-to-face meeting at Midwinter's All-Committee meeting. DO take a look at the nine standards of IP2, they certainly needed further expansion and explanation for those of us in the field to implement! The standards only worked with study, reflection and discussion of the entire book, not just the nine standards. As I said on LM_NET and the AASL Blog, The Task Force is following all the commentary, will take it into consideration and there will be opportunities for comment and input as part of the process.

What you are being asked is not to immediately implement these standards but to consider them, examine your library program and identify how these standards might push your program to be more learner-centered. At least that is my personal quest for the year in order to provide input to the Learning Assessment and Indicators Task Force as their work progresses. I hope that everyone commenting has taken a look at Sharon Coatney's article in the Feb. 2008 School Library Media Activities Monthly, "Standards for the 21stCentury Learner," in which she compares the new standards with the IP2 standards (p. 56-7). The chart on page 58, "SLMAM Skills Correlations--New (2007) to Old (1998)" is very useful during this transition time.

As far as people outside the library profession "getting" the standards, I had the experience on Jan. 9th of meeting with the provost of Teacher's College, Columbia with Barbara Stripling. Of course, I put together a packet of materials about school library programs. Provost James picked out the standards, couldn't take his eyes off them, and said that it would be easy for TC to partner with school libraries with library standards that obviously correlate with the kind of teacher and administrator prep program that is needed to teach the students in our schools. He "got" what we do as teachers to promote information literacy from our standards.

The other comment that I heard at Midwinter [ALA conference] (wish I could remember who told me!) was that when one district's librarians did a study of the standards, the SLMSs who graduated more recently "got" them easily, saying they had the concepts that they learned about in undergrad ed programs and their library degree programs. That was heartening. And made me think of how many years I have been out of library school. Yikes!

So, stay tuned for the "rest of the story." There is much yet to happen and this careful scrutiny is VERY healthy and should result in great input for the Learning Assessment and Indicators Task Force. Thanks!

Thanks, Sara. I can't wait to see the work of the Task Force.  

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Reader Comments (4)

I can't help but reflect on when the first Information Power was published in 1988 (I was just a youngster). At that time, most people only heard of the publication if they took a library class and the book was required reading (and some discussion occurred in the class). With Information Power2 (1998), listservs existed, so across LM_NET and related listservs, implementation and ideas were discussed and shared. People then had to buy the book to read more. Now, in 2008, the standards are released for free in pdf and are being discussed across many forums - committee meetings, listservs and blogs such as yours. We have evolved well - and so has the discussion! This conversation and discussion, no doubt, will lead to the meaningful, needed, and important implementation of information literacy standards throughout our schools.

January 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob Darrow

Sara, via Doug,

Using Provost James as your example of people outside the profession "getting the standards" seems to me to illustrate that you are not "getting the problem." I don't mean to be harsh or mean-spirited towards you or the higher ed folks, but I think what most of the lms on the ground are saying is that their colleagues don't get it. The people they work with everyday, the people who hand off their kids to them, hopefully collaborate with them, and of course struggle with them to meet the public's idea of a high quality education for their kids. I'm fortunate to work in a school which works very closely with two teacher ed programs at universities, with good people at all levels. But I've got to tell you, the ivory tower exists and sitting in the top admiring standards does not translate to action in the field. Bottom line, state testing standards drive the daily school day and anything added to it is considered a distraction at best, an annoyance most of the time. I believe if we're to add another layer of standards we should make them as simple and as real world as possible. In wording and vision they must be straight-forward. Like a mission statement, if you stop a parent and ask them what I do, and they can't tell you the standard (or a close proximity thereof) then it's too difficult to articulate or understand.

I appreciate your work and realize it's in progress, and that's the spirit of this comment. I am a member of AASL and believe it's a worthy organization. Keep at it, don't quit until you've got a product we can use, really use every day with our kids.

Herb Wilburn

January 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHerb Wilburn

Hi Rob,

Great comment. I agree that electronic communications will strengthen the discussion and the outcome!

You were too modest to mention that you have a great blog post on this topic at:

But I will.

All the best,


January 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Hi -- The School Library Media Activities Monthly chart correlating the new standards to Information Power 2 that Sara mentions is now online. It's a must-read because it shows how the new standards are an outgrowth of IP2.

January 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

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