KASL Award Recipients

2017 KASL Vision Award, Brenda Lemon

“To recognize individuals in or out of the profession who has contributed to the vision of Kansas school library media centers.”

Brenda Lemon is the K-12 Library Media Specialist for the Chapman School District. She has developed an exceptional library program in her district that gives vision to other schools as to what a librarian can do. Brenda is a leader in technology and an expert on young adult novels. She is very involved with the Kansas Association for School Librarians (KASL) where she currently serves as treasurer.

She has been a presenter at the state and national level for both technology and literary topics. She trained our KASL Council on how to use Google Drive and trained others on Google Classroom. She has encouraged others to get Google certified like she is and to share this knowledge with the staff you serve. This past year she developed her own EdCamp and had many attend from not only her district but others around the state.

“Brenda Lemon is the kind of librarian who is not content to just do what is expected. She moves the library profession forward with her knowledge, ideas, and professional training.”                                                                                 -Marla Wigton-


2017 KASL President’s Distinguished Library Media Specialist Award, Amy Brownlee

“To recognize an individual working in a school district of the library media profession who has developed an outstanding library media program for his/her district, and has made an outstanding contribution to school librarianship and school library media development in Kansas.”

Amy is the K-12 library media specialist for USD 376 in Sterling, KS.

Amy has been awarded a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, a study trip to Africa, received the Beta Phi Mu Achievement Award from Emporia State University in 2002, and been a member of the William Allen White Children’s Book Award Selection Committee. Amy has presented numerous times at KASL Annual Conferences as well as at the SCKLS Summer Reading Workshop, KASL District IV Workshop, and KAMLE Symposium. She has written and received numerous grants to supplement her school library program. Amy has also had several articles published in the School Library Monthly.

Amy maintains an awesome Library Website where she posts pictures and projects that her students have completed. She has a Wiki page and she has created numerous links for her students to use.

“I admire Amy as a person and as a Library Media Specialist. She has worked very hard to create a model library program in a “one-lady” district library program. She is truly deserving to be awarded the KASL President’s Distinguished Library Media Specialist Award!”                                                                                                                                   -Linda Glaze-

Kansas First Lady Mary Brownback has announced the 7th annual Kansas Book Festival will take place 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Kansas State Capitol. The festival will feature current authors and books and is focused on enforcing the importance of reading.

“Our mission is to promote literacy and encourage a life-long love of reading. The festival is one of the key ways that we are able to live out our mission,” Brownback said. “We have a great lineup assembled of locally and nationally known authors and illustrators that everyone will enjoy. And as always, there is something for everyone.”

Last year’s event drew an estimated 2,000 people at last year’s event. Headlining this year’s event will be children’s author Andrea Davis Pinkney (“A Poem for Peter”). Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults, including picture books, novels, works of historical fiction and nonfiction. Among her list of accolades are multiple Coretta Scott King awards and American Library Association Notable Book citations.

Thirty authors are set to speak, including Candice Millard (“Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, A Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill”), Tom Clavin (“Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and the Wickedest Town in the American West”) and Joshilyn Jackson (“Almost Sisters” and “The Opposite of Everyone”). Along with author presentations, there will also be additional authors featured as vendors, book sales and signings, entertainment, live music, appearances by storybook characters Clifford and Curious George and activities for children of all ages. This event is free and open to the public.

A list of authors has been posted for the Kansas Book Festival – www.kansasbookfestival.com. Many are Kansas Notable Book authors. For more details concerning the Kansas Book Festival, please visit www.kansasbookfestival.com or www.facebook.com/KansasBookFestival.

School Librarians: ESSA Value

ALA Chicago Highlights: Resources

Library Advocate’s Handbook

School Libraries Make the Difference! Resources for Parents and Advocates

Libraries Transform Learning

School Librarians as Learning Leaders: An Administrator’s Guide + additional tools to help you talk persuasively to administration

KQ blog

AASL President’s Initiative

School Librarians as Learning Leaders:  #SchoolLibrariansTransformStudentLearning

It was very early in my career as a school librarian that I realized how important the principal was to the library program that I could create. Principals impact, influence, or control (choose the appropriate verb based on your experience) library budgets, scheduling, staffing, and programming. They can also set the tone among faculty for attitude toward and use of the library and its services.

While it might be ideal for our principals to come to their administrative positions knowing all about the job that we do, this is typically not the case.  Although most administrators have been classroom teachers, very few have past experience working as school librarians. Much of my research throughout my career then has focused on principals’ perceptions of our instructional role and how they come to those understandings.

What I’ve Learned

As a rule, principals do not learn what librarians do from their educational leadership coursework. Few articles about school libraries appear in the journals in their field, and sessions about school librarians are rare at their conferences. Based on the findings from my studies on Virginia principals, both elementary and secondary, 92% learn what librarians do from the librarians with whom they work…which puts the responsibility right back in our laps!

2016-2017 Presidential Initiative

There was little question then, as I reflected on the focus for my presidential initiative, that it would be on school administrators and how we might help them to better understand the critical role that we play in student learning. Deb Levitov, Editor, Teacher-Librarian (NE), kindly agreed to chair my Presidential Initiative Task Force; Priscille Dando, Coordinator, Library Information Services in Fairfax County Public Schools (VA), and Michelle Folk, Teacher Librarian at  Fort Atkinson Middle School (WI), agreed to serve on the task force. I asked them to curate a limited number of select quality resources in a variety of formats, create suggestions for sharing these resources, and develop a mechanism to measure the effectiveness of the initiative. And what an amazing job they have done!


“School Librarians as Learning Leaders: An Administrator’s Guide” is available in two formats: an infographic and an annotated resource guide. The  two documents feature the same resources but are organized differently. The infographic presents the resources categorized by topic under the headings of Teaching, Leadership, and Evidence. The annotated resource guide presents the resources organized by format (Infographics; Journal articles, position statements, reports; and Videos).

In addition, the following resources will be added to the webpage later this week:

  • “Tips & Scenarios for Using ‘School Librarians as Learning Leaders: An Administrator’s Guide,’” which will outline who might share the documents, how and when to share, what to consider in planning, and advocacy scenario possibilities for various target audiences,
  • “Action Plan Worksheet  for ‘School Librarians as Learning Leaders: An Administrator’s Guide,’” which will walk you through how to plan to use the documents, step-by-step, and
  • “Usage Survey,” a quick and easy survey that will provide AASL with feedback on the use of the various resources.

What’s Next?

Task force members joined me on the May 18 broadcast of Larry Jacobs’ Education Talk Radio, “Administrators and School Librarians: A Powerful Partnership for Schools and Learning,” to talk about the initiative. They will be sharing and discussing the resources with members of the Affiliate Assembly at Affiliate Assembly II on Sunday, June 25, at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago and presenting a session, “Advocacy Begins with Each of Us: Resources and Strategies to Foster Administrator and School Librarian Partnerships,” at the AASL National Conference & Exhibition in Phoenix in November.

Additionally, AASL will have a presence in the exhibit hall at the first-ever joint conference for pre-K through grade 12 school leaders National Principals’ Conference in Philadelphia in July where Executive Director Sylvia Knight Norton and I will share the infographic and emphasize to principals the key role that school librarians play in student learning. As materials go out from the AASL Office to state affiliates for distribution at conferences, the “School Librarians as Learning Leaders” infographic will be included. And, of course, please feel free to download, print, and share!

As school librarians we are learning leaders in our schools. My hope is that these resources will be useful to you as you share the message with your administrators that #SchoolLibrariansTransformStudentLearning.


Author: Audrey Church, 2016-2017 AASL President

ALA Chicago Highlights: AASL Affiliate

KASL sends the President and President-Elect to the ALA Annual Conference each summer because AASL Affiliate meets then, and the real business of the association occurs.

Lucas Loughmiller, KASL President-Elect, at Affiliate Leadership on Friday

In recent years, AASL has been hosting a valuable leadership gathering during the day on Friday. Attendees learn a lot about what AASL offers.

Audrey Church, AASL President, speaks to Affiliate Leadership. Some Region 9 members are reflected in the mirror, and if you look closely, you can see KASL President, Martha House

Saturday evening, AASL Affiliate met to go over the concerns and commendations that the body would be voting on Sunday morning. If you are interested, the business is all online http://www.ala.org/aasl/about/affils. We also learned some tips for successful legislator visits from Cathy Evans, Director of Libraries, at St. Mary’s Episcopal School and a tutorial on the new and improved ALA Connect.

On Sunday morning, AASL Affiliate met for the final voting after some information about AASL initiatives and a lovely breakfast provided by ABC-CLIO.

Region 9 Delegates: Martha House (Kansas), Ann Schuster Regional Director, Betty Meyer (Nebraska), Jennisen Lucas (Wyoming), South Dakota

ALA Chicago Highlights: School Library Snapshot

The School Library Snapshot is a handy tool for showcasing the services you offer in your library. AASL recommends that you gather data for a week, enter the results in the fillable .pdf, and distribute widely. It might be a nice place to start or a good supplement for the reports you already do.


Highlights from ALA Chicago: Best Apps and Best Websites

AASL Announces 2017 Best Apps for Teaching & Learning
AASL announced its 2017 list of Best Apps for Teaching & Learning at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago. The list of apps provides technology resources for school librarians and their teacher collaborators. Now in its fifth year, the list is considered the “best of the best” by AASL.
AASL Announces 2017 Best Websites for Teaching & Learning
AASL announced its 2017 Best Websites for Teaching & Learning at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago. The annual list honors 25 websites that provide enhanced learning and curriculum development for school librarians and their teacher collaborators. Now in its ninth year, with 225 recognized sites, the list is considered the “best of the best” by AASL.
Building Readers

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