The Vermont School Library Association (VSLA) is a professional learning
community that supports dynamic teaching and learning environments. Its members promote and advocate for strong library programs that give all Vermont students access to information and the resources necessary to succeed in a connected world.
May 21-22, 2015 Champlain College
by Linda McSweeney
On an unusually wild, rainy, and windy day in August, the VSLA Board was hard at work mapping the future of our association. Energized by last year’s successful campaign to reinstate library programs in the revised Education Quality Standards, the 2014-15 Board focused on identifying our mission and our goals for the incredibly important work we do for all Vermont students.
With help from State Librarian, Marty Reid, we examined VSLA’s strengths and opportunities (SWOT analysis); drafted a mission statement; and traveled ‘back to the future’ to envision VSLA in 2017. Additional retreat agenda items included VSLA’s role in implementing Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Vermont AOE consultants, Pat Fitzsimmons, Gail Hall,Kathy Renfrew, and Laurie Dolezal met with the Board and identified several collaborative opportunities for VSLA and the AOE. The Board also enjoyed a surprise Skype visitor--Chris Grabenstein, author of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. Chris was charming, funny, and incredibly generous. He has graciously granted permission for VSLA to use Luigi Lemoncello’s chisel-worthy quote, ‘knowledge not shared remains unknown.’
Our new Mission Statement and 3-year strategic plan were unanimously approved at the September Board meeting. The simplicity of these documents, however, belie the thoughtful, focused discussion and intense collaborative work that created them. The Board’s next action is to release a VSLA School Librarian Job Description. Many VSLA members and school administrators have been asking for guidance about what it means to be a school librarian in 2014. A subcommittee chaired by Heidi Heustis with members Judy Kaplan and Denise Wentz have a draft job description ready for Board approval. Based on the AASL job description, but right-sized for Vermont, it will be ready shortly and shared on the listserv and website.
The stormy weather at our retreat rolled through and turned into one of those rare, clear, perfect summer days--the convergence of nature and thoughtful planning.
...and represents VSLA at National Library Legislative Day along with Marty Reid, Vermont State Librarian.
Find out more about legislative impacts on libraries and see additional photos from the trip here.
802 School Librarians
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