One Question Survey: Sharing the Standards


Approximately every ten years, school librarians face the excitement of a new set of AASL standards. With all of the hype surrounding the most recent release of those standards, we were curious to know how, if at all, school librarians have  shared these standards with teachers and administrators with whom they worked in the past.

The good news is that more than two-thirds of the 553 respondents to our One-Question Survey do share the standards, and because we enabled participants to select all applicable choices, we learned that they share them in numerous ways. As reflected in the table below, a majority of school librarians include the standards in their “stand-alone” lesson plans, and nearly one-third include them in their collaborative lesson plans with teachers. Like many of their teacher colleagues, school librarians engage in backwards design; hence, the standards form the foundation of those lesson plans.

Integrating the standards into reports, newsletters, email, and other correspondence also serves as a common means of informing teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders of the importance, existence, and emphases of the instructional value of school librarians. However, results of this survey indicate that school librarians are much less likely to create professional development sessions for the purpose of sharing the standards, and of those who did identify this strategy, seven serve in roles beyond a single school, such as a district- or state-level coordinator or professional service provider.

What really piques our interest, and perhaps yours too (and also the primary reason why we asked the question), is the “other” things that school librarians are doing to share the AASL standards with teacher and administrator colleagues. So, here’s the big reveal (drum roll, please!)…

School librarians share the AASL standards with other stakeholders through: annual reports, quarterly reports, budget requests, faculty meetings, professional growth plans, monthly one-on-one meetings with principals, tweets, infographics, informational posters, SMART goals, annual evaluation processes, formal library manuals, long-range planning documents, elevator speeches, informal conversations, social media platforms, video productions, and curriculum maps.

School librarians incorporate or post the AASL standards: in makerspaces, on the white boards in instructional rooms, on bulletin boards, on the library doors, on the walls of the library, and via electronic slide decks projected on screens and devices throughout the library and/or school.

One great thing that we’ve noticed about the 1QS is that it not only serves as a tool for gathering information about school librarians, that we in turn share through these monthly articles, but the survey itself sometimes also serves as a means for sharing information or prompting librarians to advance their practice, as these comments suggest:

I took over library this year, so I didn’t even know about [the AASL standards]!

I don’t do any of the above as of yet, but am inspired to do so going forward. Thank you.

PD about the AASL standards is a great idea! I may just submit a proposal for that!


How, if at all, do you inform classroom and/or content area teachers and/or administrators about the AASL Standards? Percentage of Respondents
Include AASL standards in my lesson plans when designing instruction 54%
Include AASL standards in co-planned/co-taught lesson plans 29%
Write about AASL standards in reports, newsletters, and/or email correspondence 12%
Conduct PD session(s) about the AASL standards 3%
Other 12%
I don’t inform teachers and/or administrators about the AASL standards 33%

About the Author

Maria Cahill, MLIS, PhD, is an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky in both the School of Information Science and the Department of Education. She received her master’s degree from the University of South Carolina and her doctorate in education from the University of Tennessee. She is author of numerous papers in such journals as Knowledge Quest, School Libraries Worldwide, and School Library Research and has served in numerous professional leadership positions, including on the Educators of School Librarians Section of the American Association of School Librarians and the American Library Association’s Literacy and Outreach Services Committee.

Join the Discussion