Your Voice, Your Standards

Learning from and with Our Learners


More than eight years ago, AASL embarked on the journey to develop the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries. These new standards marked a critical milestone for the school library field which activated school librarians and connections across the educational landscape.

The periodic review and evaluation of content and materials that support school librarians and educational leaders implementing national standards is an important activity of the association. The creation and evolution of your AASL Standards and supporting content and materials was guided in 2015 and 2019 by a series of community touchstones. Continuing with its commitment to community consultation, AASL has launched a new series of research seeking feedback from school librarians, collaborators, and AASL Chapters. You continue to be the foundation of our work!  

 Visit the FAQ and Overview for more information on the research process and how you can contribute.  

AASL Standards Survey Closed

Thank you for your time and participation in this important research around the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries 

Results from the online surveys will inform further research to be conducted with virtual focus groups in early 2024. AASL will post a research summary report in the spring of its combined findings from the online surveys and focus groups. 

The National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries were released at the 2017 AASL National Conference. Developmental research conducted in 2015-2016, among more than 1,300 school librarians and stakeholders, helped to guide the work of remodeling and rewriting new standards and support tools for learners and the school library profession. In 2019, AASL again gathered insight from the school library community in order to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the standards implementation. The findings helped to inform distribution of resources to support activities most needed to advance the role of school librarians.

At the time the National School Library Standards were developed, content surrounding the AASL Standards frameworks was crafted to help school library professionals and stakeholders adapt to and integrate the standards with their learning communities. While the structure and components of the AASL Standards frameworks is not under evaluation, the 2023-2024 research will help to ensure AASL is continuing to provide educational leaders with content that strengthens further adoption of the standards and advocacy for the role of school librarians.

AASL will be seeking insights from several targeted audiences, including school library professionals, collaborators, and AASL Chapters. Between these audiences, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, this study will:

  • Measure awareness, access, familiarity, and perceived value of the AASL Standards.
  • Measure usefulness of supporting content and materials in the National School Library Standards book.
  • Measure benefits and barriers for implementation and professional development.
  • Explore whether standards reflect practice, align with stakeholder goals, and have increased the understanding of job roles.
  • Determine impacts of standards on culture change, collaboration, and advocacy.
  • Assess adaption, adoption, and integration of the standards.
  • Explore opportunities for new material to support teaching and learning through the standards.

Current research will follow the pattern used in earlier research efforts, beginning with online surveys and leading to more in depth focus group discussions. Results from the online surveys will inform the AASL Standards Committee who will work on developing further research to be conducted with virtual focus groups in early 2024.

X Project Kick-off August 2023
X Development of Online Surveys Sept – Oct 2023
X Online Surveys Distribution November 2023
Data Analysis and Focus Group Development Dec 2023 – Jan 2024
Virtual Focus Groups February 2024
Analysis / Refine Scope of Work March 2024
Content Development April – Dec 2024
Content Production Jan – Sept 2025
Support Tools R&D Jan – Sept 2025
AASL 2025 @ St. Louis, MO October 2025

Who is conducting this research?

AASL is project managing and facilitating the research process and technical logistics, guided by the models used with earlier research surrounding the AASL Standards. The AASL Standards Committee is instructing the research direction and analysis. The committee and the AASL Board of Directors will use the findings to help inform the scope of work and content development, as well as strategic planning in development of support tools, professional development, and community advocacy.

Who will be invited to participate in the research?

The school library community, including both AASL members and non-members, is the primary audience for this research. Secondary audiences will include collaborators in the educational community, including building-level and district administrators, classroom and content-area educators, and other instructional collaborators. As a special audience, AASL is also seeking discussion with AASL Chapter leaders.

How can I participate in the online survey portion of the research?

Links to online surveys for school library professionals and MLS educators and instructors of school librarians will be distributed via e-mail on Monday, November 6. The survey will be open through Monday, November 20. Initial e-mail lists will include AASL members and standards purchasers. The link will be further distributed across the school librarian community through other AASL online communication channels. Participants are encouraged to share the survey links widely with school library colleagues and professional networks in order to help AASL collect a comprehensive assessment from the profession.

Surveys tailored for school library collaborators will be concurrently distributed to the school library community. Professionals are asked to invite collaborators to participate in the research, sharing the survey links with their building-level and district administrators, classroom and content-area educators, and other instructional collaborators.

Invitations with survey links and instructions for AASL Chapters will be shared separately with organizational leaders and delegates. AASL Chapter leaders should contact Jen Habley ( with any questions.

How long will the survey take to complete?

The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. The survey tool will allow participants to leave the survey and return to it, on the same device, before the deadline and resume the survey where they left off.

When and where will focus groups be held?

Virtual focus groups will be facilitated in February 2024 using the Zoom platform. Focus groups will consist of no more than 8 participants each. Group demographics will be determined after analysis of the online surveys is complete.

Who sees my survey and/or focus group responses?

Your responses to AASL research are anonymous through SurveyMonkey. In addition, the data collected is confidential and will only be reviewed by the AASL staff research team, the AASL Board of Directors, and the AASL Standards Committee as part of this particular effort. Your name will not be attached to any responses that you provide.  The information you provide will only be viewed in aggregate with the responses of others, and your information will never be shared with a third party.

Will AASL share its research with the profession?

Yes. The AASL Board of Directors and the AASL Standards Committee will review the data over the 2023-2024 winter season. AASL will post a full research summary report of its combined findings from the online surveys and focus groups in spring 2024.

AASL is committed to keeping its membership, school library professionals, and the education community informed as we work to assess and apply community needs to the National School Library Standards. AASL will share progress reports through press releases, e-mails to membership, Knowledge Quest blog posts, the AASL Digest and School Library SmartBrief e-newsletters, and other vehicles as we reach key milestone points throughout the research project.

Additional questions?

If you have questions specifically regarding the AASL Standards online surveys, focus groups research, or other planning and implementation questions, please contact AASL at 312-280-4382 or

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Transforming Learning

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