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Like others who have written in response to Sharon's well thought out
critique of the new AASL standards, I too hope this provides inspiration for
discussion. I am quite concerned however, that the discussion seems to be
starting off with a rather negative, defeatist tone. For a library leader to
state that "the new standards from AASL and from ISTE give an easy out for
not using them at all" is, I can only hope, an unfortunate misstatement that
was not intended to be as dismissive as it appeared.

Through our involvement in this national forum, we have all assumed the
responsibility of a leadership position. Part of that responsibility, and
indeed a part well supported by the beliefs and standards of the document in
question, is to engage in a reflective review and critique of information.
It is entirely appropriate for that critical review to be shared with your
administration. Documents like this should never be placed in mailboxes or
dropped off on desks, they need to be shared in a carefully constructed
social context that includes your professional and expert thoughts on how
this broad national document will be applied in the local environment. An
unwillingness to share the new standards because "they do not compellingly
and clearly support the role of the library media specialist as it has
evolved in [a] district" leaves me wondering what exactly the role might be
in that district.

I would like to extend Sharon's initial reference to my May 2006 SLJ article
on School Library 2.0 to clarify that the real theme of the article is about
finding solutions. I do like to speak about the "Google Effect" to build up
suspense, but the underlying purpose of bringing up that concern is to
provide a platform for the exploration of possible ways to overcome the
problem (one answer is to become a Google Ninja that teaches people how to
actually use Google and its massive suite of tools). In the past couple of
years, AASL seems to be re-awakening; becoming increasingly focused on
finding solutions. As with most situations, however, those solutions are not
always perfect. National documents must be written broadly; then supported,
extended, and applied locally. Given the massive national organization that
is AASL, is it any wonder that the very first publication in this multi-year
process of re-writing our "handbook" has some room for improvement?

The answer, though, is to rise up as an active membership and take on a
leadership role in helping to find solutions to the concerns we identify. I
would issue a challenge to LM_NET to frame this discussion moving forward.
When you identify a concern, try also to identify at least one possible
solution. If you need help finding a solution, let us know and we can all
work together to brainstorm some possibilities. None of us has all the
answers - I certainly would love some help in looking forward to
implementation - but I do feel very strongly that our conversation must be
framed in a more positive light.

Christopher Harris -
Coordinator, School Library System
Genesee Valley BOCES, Le Roy NY
Vote Chris! - ALA Council Candidate 2008

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