AASL Reclaims Basic Terminology: School Librarian

January 26, 2010

 In the late 1980's, the American Association of School Librarians adopted the title "school library media specialist" as the professional title that it would use in all communications, publications, etc. On Friday, January 15th, the AASL board of directors, directors-elect, and staff participated in a four and a half hour facilitated workshop during which they examined the issues around the use of the current name. On Saturday, during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston, the board unanimously passed a motion to make "school librarian" the term of choice instead. AASL Executive Director Julie Walker circulated the board motion this morning:

 Whereas, the overarching strategic goal of the American Association of School Librarians is to achieve universal recognition of school librarians as indispensable educational leaders; and

Whereas, the AASL Affiliate Assembly requested that the AASL Board of Directors choose a title for its professionals that is clear to other educators, administrators, and the public; and

Whereas, a recent AASL survey indicated confusion, misperceptions, and inconsistencies about various job titles in our profession; and

Whereas, AASL needed to agree on a common nomenclature for all publications and advocacy efforts; and

Whereas, the AASL’s leadership reviewed the data, identified the advantages and disadvantages of the various titles, and held a focused and extensive discussion.

Therefore be it resolved, AASL officially adopts “school librarian” as the title which reflects the roles of the 21st century school library professional as leader, instructional partner, information specialist, teacher, and program administrator; be it further resolved that AASL will advance and promote the title “school librarian” to ensure universal recognition of school librarians as indispensable educational leaders.

Walker noted that "the following guiding principles govern these actions: Open dialog concerning knowledge of our stakeholders’ needs, wants, and preferences; the current realities and evolving dynamics of our environment; the capacity and strategic position of our organization; and the ethical implications relevant to this decision."


Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award

New to the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards in 2010 is the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for lifetime achievement. In this video, award committee chair Barbara Clark discusses Virginia Hamilton's contributions to literature, the award itself, and the inaugural winner, Walter Dean Myers. See more ALA videos at https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/al_focus/videos.