C&IS’ School of Library and Information Studies assistant professor, Dr. Steven D. Yates, has been elected President of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).
A division of the American Library Association, AASL is well-positioned within the greater library community to be a strong voice for school librarians and the profession. Yates’ one-year term as the AASL President will begin during the ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition held in Chicago, June 22-27. He is the first UA faculty member to serve as president of AASL.
AASL accomplishes its mission of empowering leaders to transform teaching and learning by staying abreast of current educational and technology trends and building the school librarian community. AASL advocates for every student to have an effective school library program with a certified school librarian at the helm.
“We take every opportunity we can to not only advocate for school library resources, but also work to equip our school librarians to advocate for themselves,” said Yates. “Especially with the last economic downturn, some districts are looking to save money, and think they can cut the librarian, but don’t realize the school-wide impact a quality school librarian can have.”
AASL establishes the national standards for school librarians that are released every ten years. These are used by states and library education preparation programs. The newest version, National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries will premier this November at the AASL National Conference held during Yates’ term.
“Serving as president when the new standards come out is one of the things that attracted me to the position when I was asked to run,” said Yates. “The standards are a powerful advocacy tool that enables us to say, ‘If you’re able to provide this learning environment through your school libraries, your students are going to be better prepared for college and their careers.’”
As president, Yates wants to increase the diversity of AASL committee appointments and the school library profession. He also plans to use existing technology to bring an element of more meaningful, face-to-face communication to monthly governance meetings.
Yates will receive his Ph.D. from The University of Alabama in August of 2017. He holds two master’s degrees in communication studies and library and information studies. Before joining UA’s School of Library and Information Studies, Yates served as a school and public librarian in Birmingham.
The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is the only national professional membership organization focused on school librarians and the school library community. AASL has 7,000 members and serves school librarians in the United States, Canada, and around the world.