IN THE STANDARDS remodeling process, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) reviewed Common Beliefs from earlier AASL Standards and official AASL position statements. These documents, and feedback collected from more than 1,300 school librarians and stakeholders nationally, provided AASL with a clear expression of the qualities of well-prepared learners, effective school librarians, and dynamic school libraries. The following Common Beliefs and summary descriptions were identified as central to the profession.
1. The school library is a unique and essential part of a learning community.
As a destination for on-site and virtual personalized learning, the school library is a vital connection between school and home. As the leader of this space and its functions, the school librarian ensures that the school library environment provides all members of the school community access to information and technology, connecting learning to real-world events. By providing access to an array of well-managed resources, school librarians enable academic knowledge to be linked to deep understanding.
2. Qualified school librarians lead effective school libraries.
As they guide organizational and personal change, effective school librarians model, promote, and foster inquiry learning in adequately staffed and resourced school libraries. Qualified school librarians have been educated and certified to perform interlinked, interdisciplinary, and cross-cutting roles as instructional leaders, program administrators, educators, collaborative partners, and information specialists.
3. Learners should be prepared for college, career, and life.
Committed to inclusion and equity, effective school librarians use evidence to determine what works, for whom and under what conditions for each learner; complemented by community engagement and innovative leadership, school librarians improve all learners’ opportunities for success. This success empowers learners to persist in inquiry, advanced study, enriching professional work, and community participation through continuous improvement within and beyond the school building and school day.
4. Reading is the core of personal and academic competency.
In the school library, learners engage with relevant information resources and digital learning opportunities in a culture of reading. School librarians initiate and elevate motivational reading initiatives by using story and personal narrative to engage learners. School librarians curate current digital and print materials and technology to provide access to high-quality reading materials that encourage learners, educators, and families to become lifelong learners and readers.
5. Intellectual freedom is every learner’s right.
Learners have the freedom to speak and hear what others have to say, rather than allowing others to control their access to ideas and information; the school librarian’s responsibility is to develop these dispositions in learners, educators, and all other members of the learning community.
6. Information technologies must be appropriately integrated and equitably available.
Although information technology is woven into almost every aspect of learning and life, not every learner and educator has equitable access to up-to-date, appropriate technology and connectivity. An effective school library bridges digital and socioeconomic divides to affect information technology access and skill.