State of the States: Legislation and interest groups impacting freedom of information 

This post reflects the work of the ad hoc Database Working Group, which is not affiliated with AISL’s organizational structure, although we have many overlapping members. Also, credit for the work reflected here goes to all the members of that group, though for space and confidentiality purposes the members cannot all be named here. 

Additionally, while it is important to acknowledge that not every independent school has the same educational mission–and varying missions may impact the curricular and co-curricular needs of each of our libraries–we cannot know the full downstream impact of allowing censorship of educational materials. Therefore, it is important for each of us to understand the mechanisms by which information access is being curtailed.

Back-to-school means back to thinking about information access. Where electronic information is concerned, we have found (see comments on post) that it is not only the policies of one’s own state or school that have the potential to impact what information your students can access; research database vendors vary in their methods of responding to politicized concerns about content. Right now – as far as we can tell – there is a lot more pressure aimed at these vendors to curtail information access, especially around particular identities and scientific information, than to support students’ right to learn. As we independent school librarians are some of the few direct purchasers of research database products (since most public schools use only the state-provided products), our voices matter in what products offered nationwide actually contain.

I know we are all focused on kicking off our new school years right now, so it might not feel like the best time for a heavy post. But heaviness is impacting our students’ right to learn, so you might want (or need) to add electronic information access to your thinking about the year. It is certainly among the duties of my job to assure both that my students get the educational materials they need and that I am shepherding my school’s finances responsibly. That includes not paying for information my students cannot actually access due to blocked searches, or having content removed that I intentionally purchased to support learning.

In past posts by various AISL members we have discussed work being undertaken by the Database Working Group—a collaboration of various school librarians around the country–that functions independently of AISL. During our group’s boot camp this summer, we kicked off with a “State of the States” update. We agreed that the update needed to be shared more widely. Please note that we had significant assistance in our preparation from EveryLibrary’s John Chrastka, an ally fighting hard for your students’ right to read and learn.


There exist many methods for achieving censorship, or freedom to read, but we will start with a brief legislative overview of the first half of 2023. We need to care about legislation in our own states and also in other states. Legislators take other states’ bills as models for new proposals (and bills that die one year may well come back the next year, as with Nebraska’s very worrisome LB635) but also because the chilling effect  – plus legal impact – of legislation can change the content available to our students even if our own state does not legislate censorship.


According to Chrastka and EveryLibrary, the three major themes in legislation impacting reading and databases are:

  1. Limits: Bills such as Michigan’s HB4136 require public libraries to create an area only accessible to people over the age of 18 for “either obscene or sexually explicit matter that is harmful to minors” and further restrict where the materials from that area may be used.
  2. Ratings: Laws such as Texas HB900, which takes effect on September 1, 2023, require vendors, publishers, or libraries to apply a ratings system to materials. In Texas, for example, vendors must rate materials before sale, and must recall anything that has already been purchased which is rated as “sexually explicit.” Several states have put forth legislation of this nature so far, among them Tennessee and Maine.
  3. Criminalization: For the past several years, criminalizing databases themselves was the trend. Such laws passed in Idaho, Utah, Tennessee, and Oklahoma, and died in several other states. This year, there has been a shift to criminalizing librarians or all educators, making individuals legally liable if a student is perceived to have accessed obscene materials.* This year there has been more legislation that includes:
  • Redefining “obscenity” (diverging from the Miller Test): especially changing language around the “community standards” that define “obscenity” and/or removing protections such as those afforded to artistic, literary, political, or scientific sources. 
  • There is also a proliferation of alternate terms that (as I read it, not being a lawyer) attempt to legislate around the legal definition of obscenity, such as: “inappropriate materials,” “sexually explicit materials,” “pornographic for minors,” “harmful to minors,” or “hard-core pornography.” The definitions of these terms may vary from historical or contemporary common usage. 

(Much of this wording implies we are talking exclusively about electronic content dealing with gender, sexuality, and gendered health. However, certain book bans have applied “harmful to minors” to other identifiers, such as race/ethnicity and religion. We are still struggling to get transparency and understanding around how these identities are impacted by censorship attempts for electronic content.)

  • Iowa legislation, currently in committee, includes “accredited nonpublic schools” (and also prohibits “the use of standards or guidance developed by the American Library Association” for collection development and weeding). 

Among other trends, states such as Georgia and Texas are legislating statewide collection development and/or reconsideration policies that override those of individual libraries or districts. 

For more or state-specific information, we strongly recommend EveryLibrary’s page on 2023 Legislation of Concern, and especially reading EveryLibrary’s Unpacking 2023 Legislation of Concern for Libraries and Education.


Once again, we care both about bills passed and bills proposed. It is common to see several states proposing the same language, or to see legislators shopping their text around to other states. If many states legislate against the freedom to learn through accessing electronic educational materials, our vendors may change the content of our subscription products against our will. We have already seen that happen in at least one vendor’s products.

In the first half of 2023 we saw:

  • 7 laws passed and enacted
  • 1 bill vetoed
  • 28 bills dead (but not forgotten)
  • Many more currently in committee

The states that have passed legislation specific to databases and access in the first half of 2023 are:

  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Utah (multiple)

Other forms of censorship

Legislation is created by legislators who are influenced by activists. Beyond legislation exist many other paths to enacting (or fighting) censorship. Each state mixes and matches legislation and these other forms in their own unique way. Additional paths include:

  • Policies that are created by executive heads of government departments, both elected and appointed, such as the governor or the head of the Department of Education.
  • Rules that are created by the bureaucracy. In many cases (but certainly not all), rules set the guidelines for how a law is actually supposed to be implemented.
  • Enforcement that can come from various administrative authorities, such as the state Attorney General, a school board, or a school administrator.
  • Requests for proposals from, for example, state libraries buying electronic resources on behalf of the K-12 schools in a state. Requests for proposals (asking vendors to submit an offer for a database that the state could buy) may lean on contract law to set requirements for what content is acceptable within a state. While most states keep RFPs public and transparent, other states have been placing the requirements of their calls for proposals behind non-disclosure agreements. 
  • Chilling effects that cause vendors to self-censor may lead to changes in the functionality or content in electronic products. It is extremely challenging to discover when browsing, searching, or content have been changed and are not giving students the educational materials we believed we purchased.

Federal level

Federal activity mirrors much of what we see on the state level. Contacting your reps to encourage support for the Right to Read Act and to get them on board re-introducing, co-sponsoring, and voting for the Don’t Block LGBT Act are first steps.

As a profession, we need to also follow policies and rules that might impact our students right to learn. For example, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Right has started working against book bans (example). 

What can you do?

To start with a very specific ask: Help us determine vocabulary that is not librarian jargon to distinguish among different types of blocked search terms. We are looking for language to describe:

  • technical stopwords like “the,” “an,” “or,” etc.
  • swear words that have traditionally been blacklisted
  • identity-related and health science terms that have been/have potential to be blacklisted for political reasons.

If you have ever tried to teach anyone about “stopwords,” you know that is not a term the public is willing to embrace. Feel free to email Tasha directly with suggestions for our group to discuss.

Another very helpful action that each of us can take: ask for transparency from vendors regarding their editorial policies for both content inclusion and responding to complaints about content.

If you want to go deeper, the latter portion of EveryLibrary’s Unpacking 2023 Legislation of Concern for Libraries and Education is a truly excellent description of necessary civic engagement beyond advocating for or against pending legislation. It is worth a read just to enhance one’s own civics education, even if this is not your personal issue. It covers the need for:

Pre-legislative prep: Research, Stakeholder engagement, Coalition building, Media push

Post-legislative actions: Implementation advocacy, Judicial actions

More than anything, we need to spread the word. There are many directly impacted states where we could really use contacts so that we can offer the most-needed support. Talk to librarian friends, but also potential advocates in other professions. 

In support of any or all of these actions, you are most welcome to join the Database Working Group! We meet twice a month – come when you can, do what you can. As we plan our conference presentation strategy for the next year we would love to have your voice making proposals to speak. Generally, cultivating our diverse range of skills, perspectives, and institutional needs makes us stronger.

Civic work is everyone’s business, and our particular business is making sure our students have the right to learn.

*Note that Arkansas’ law creating criminal liability for librarians and booksellers has been temporarily blocked by a judge. (Source)

Celebrating ten years of school librarianship with abstract book covers

This year was my tenth at Castilleja, and my tenth as a school librarian (about 29th overall, depending on how you count). When I started at Casti, I considered myself a big reader of YA — only to discover I was reading all the obvious books and there was so much more out there to discover! I’ve never developed the superpower my colleagues bring to readers’ advisory, but I have a much wider range now.

So, I decided to celebrate my 10th anniversary by acknowledging my imperfections on the pleasure reading side by being vulnerable in another way — attempting to make abstract quilt squares of the covers of books that have been impactful for me over the past ten years. Quilting is another activity in which I engage with more passion than skill. It turns out to be an interesting intellectual challenge, however, to figure out what to convey from a cover, and how to handle layers of text over images. I owe a debt of gratitude to the #quiltyourlifecrew on Instagram for the original inspiration, and for helping me problem-solve.

For fun, because it is summer and fun is much needed, here are a few of the book/covers I love. I am about halfway through making the squares on my list so far. I would also love to know if anyone else has undertaken such a project — I would love to see your book-cover squares!

I figured to share (critique??) the fun, I could put together a can-you-guess-the-cover quiz. Answers below. (And if you cannot guess, it is sincerely not you, but me!)


#1: Nation, by Terry Pratchett
#2: All My Rage, by Sabaa Tahir
#3 The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart
#4: A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness based on the idea by Siobhan Dowd
#5: The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson
#6: The Universe Versus Alex Woods, by Gavin Extence
#7: I Will Always Write Back, by Catlin Alifirenka, Martin Ganda, and Liz Welch
#8: Out of Darkness, by Ashley Hope Perez
#9: Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
#10: Pet, by Akwaeke Emezi
#11: The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater
#12: The Porcupine of Truth, by Bill Konigsberg
#13: Orbiting Jupiter, by Gary D. Schmidt
#14: When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

Knowing the author of a source matters: Gilmore Girls explains why

Anna Birman is a (graduated) senior and Research Teaching Assistant at the Castilleja School Library. She has spent the past two years observing and teaching research lessons to understand how middle school students best learn about media literacy, databases, and citations. She has been developing lesson plans such as this one based on those experiences.

From my collaboration with my school librarians, I hear that it is sometimes frustrating when lesson plans are not met with the same enthusiasm my librarians feel about them. Personally, I enjoy drawing connections in class to TV shows. In this presentation, I use a pop culture theory about the popular 2000’s TV show Gilmore Girls to illustrate how an author or narrator’s point of view can affect the way the reader understands the source. Gilmore Girls (2000-2007) follows the everyday lives of the fiercely independent single mom Lorelai and her studious teenage daughter Rory living in the eccentric Connecticut small town Stars Hollow. The theory states that the reason that Lorelai and Rory’s behavior seems so different in the 2016 reboot A Year in the Life is because the original series is narrated by Rory herself, while the reboot is told by an omniscient narrator. Lorelai and Rory did not change; the narrator did, and that made all the difference. Looking at the author in the context of SOAPA–subject, occasion, author, purpose, and audience–can help enhance our understanding of a source because the world view of the author impacts the evidence used and conclusions drawn in the source.

Worse than fixing staplers: Teaching database search is the most thankless task I undertake

Hi, all! I was working on a different blog post entirely, but had two conversations with other school librarians yesterday about teaching database searching, so thought I would continue my thinking here. More than anything, I like checking my thinking – so, hoping we can converse (in comments or with me directly by email). Push back, please. We are definitely stronger together!

While my students respond very positively to my lesson on database business models as systemic injustice (which also explains why we value databases and how they can allow us to access voices that search engine algorithms don’t surface), lessons on the actual using of databases is much less of a love-fest. I’ve experimented with different formats over the years.

In essence, I have found that teaching a “click here, now click there” lesson is boring for both me and for them. While I love seeing students go to their happy place, I don’t love it so much during instruction. For a while, I experimented with not teaching how to use databases, at all. Just telling students to go for it… Either way, I got the exact same comment: “We never learned how to do this.”

So, I’ve finally arrived at the basic concepts that students need to use most databases. My biggest interest is teaching them to feel empowered to open any database and give it a try.

I really think that 95% of database searching is search term selection and has nothing to do with the database itself. I spend a lot more time on that skill, which is broadly applicable.

My database lessons cover four points, period.

1. Use Advanced Search in databases. They all work basically the same way, but require us to type stuff in slightly differently from each other if you are just suing the single search box. Memorize them all OR just click on that advanced search link. It looks basically the same in almost every database. Learn to manage this interface with basic skill and you can search almost any database competently.

2. The bottom half of most advanced search pages tend to focus on the strengths/purpose of that database. Access World News has a map search, to limit by geography; ARTSTOR has limiters for time and medium; JSTOR offers narrowing by discipline of journals to be searched. So, limit your search terms in the top half as much as you can, and make use of the filters in the bottom half that relate to your topic (ex: don’t use [art history] as a search term in JSTOR, just look for [japan AND gender] and then click on the Art History box to search discipline-specific writings).

3. Similarly, keep the advanced search portion as light as possible, click “search” and use the filters on the left side of the results page (usually, though sometimes on the right) to narrow further. Easier to experiment, play around, see what happens.

4. Databases are not flexible, they look for exactly what you type in. Use * to help. (Note here: I used to think that stemming — e.g., using [immigra*] to look for immigrant, immigrants, immigration, etc. — was too hard and I chose not to teach it to my students. Turns out they love it and find it extremely useful.)

Ultimately, I think that the flexibility of moving from database to database is the most important element to learn. I *strongly* prefer to give students those four basic guidelines and then do a jigsaw. Give groups each one database to play with. They apply the four principles I teach, see what a specific database offers for themselves. They jigsaw and teach each other. Maybe build a communal class guide to use when searching.

This approach has definitely been the most productive for me, given that I usually have one class period (on good days) and no specific time to follow up. Though, given my druthers, “how to database” is never my go-to lesson. I do force myself to teach the lesson once in early 9th grade. The rest gets followed up in one-on-one student conversations.

I’d love to hear how you teach database lessons.

When is a Cheez-It Not a Cheez-It? Some highlights from AISL23 (with links for at-home exploration)

I am so grateful for the collaborative learning that takes place through AISL. I learn so much from our communications and from the relationships I have been blessed to build within the group. As a friend said yesterday, there is nothing quite like the “process of sharing our work, having other people iterate on it, and then being able to ‘steal’ it back.” The conferences provide a particularly dense opportunity to share, iterate, and “steal” (a.k.a., re-share).

For those who either could not make it, or who could not be everywhere at once in Santa Fe, I thought I’d (re-)share some highlights of the conference. Not everything will be here, but welcome to a random sample of appreciated moments – “random” as defined by asking all four other AISL attendees who happened to be sitting in the waiting room with me at the Santa Fe airport on Wednesday evening! 😉

If you are not linked here and presented at AISL23, please consider sharing your slides in the comments section so that other members can learn from you, as well!

“Research Process As Product” by Sara Kelley-Mudie (Librarian and Educational Technology Specialist) and Sadie Weinberger (Upper School Teacher, Global History and Social Sciences), Beaver Country Day School – if ever there was a set of food analogies to make your stomach growl and your research practice grow, this was it! This run through a 10-day, process-based collaboration in historical research had many specific strategies to help students slow down and develop, practice, and reflect on skills for searching, selecting sources, notetaking, and more. I happened to catch the famous Cheez-It/source analogy (original idea courtesy of Courtney Lewis) on video:

Sara and Sadie share the Cheez-It analogy

I’ve heard that colleagues are already looking at to their budgets for charcuterie boards so they can offer PD and drive home the idea of what databases actually are with a metaphorically appropriate snack! Participants are excited to relay a broad range of strategies from this presentation to their colleagues and figure out how and where to implement them at school.

“What Happens When a Superhero Librarian Gets Tired?” Jen Dawson and Laura Marmorstein, Cranbrook Schools — Colleagues found it meaningful to acknowledge something typically not mentioned: burnout at a job you love. The goal of the session was to think about how to reinvigorate yourself, and included concrete strategies. Some of the working materials in this session came from Elena Aguilar’s book, The Onward Workbook, so you can look at the website and the book for materials to support the attached slides. Ultimately, Dawson and Marmorstein created an environment that enabled really positive connections among people. With the addition of a goodie bag of stickers, noisemakers, and magic wands, participants left with a sense of connection and renewed enthusiasm. So: find a librarian friend, connect, and reinvigorate your own practice! (And go big with a magic wand or sparkly pencil, maybe some stickers, of your choice!)

“School Librarians as Instructional Coaches”: Chris Young (Director of Libraries) and Kate Turnbull (Director of Professional Learning) of Metairie Park Country Day School
argued that the job of instructional coaching maps directly onto the work we already do as curricular collaborators. Additionally, participants took inspiration from this example of strategically reimagining what a team can look like in order to achieve staffing or other goals that are otherwise out of reach.

“Let Them Help: Students Behind the Desk“ Kimberly Senf (Senior Librarian)
Elmwood School: Participants were impressed by Senf’s well-rounded system. “Her student volunteers did so much for her, and she developed a functional system – she might not even be in the room when they were helping her out!” The session broke down the logistics of her program in great detail – from sign-up forms that asked applicants at what jobs they thought they would excel to her methods for training shelvers. Participants appreciated the advice to look beyond just our good readers when considering volunteers – non-readers can also bring wonderful skills into service for the library. Although the session was about high school-aged volunteers, participants could imagine their oldest students (4th graders, in this case) being able to contribute to display design and other tasks around the library. Thanks, too, to the participant who shared that her volunteers love having special nametags to wear when they are working.

“What Makes a Comic a Comic,” from Bram Meehan, of Bram Meehan Design, Writing, + Direction, was a dynamic exploration with a lot of hands-on activities. Participants learned to define a comic by sketching one out for themselves. If you like classes with learning by doing, you might want to take a look at these slides as a model. You can learn more about his work at

Finally, participants wanted to send a heartfelt thanks to our hosts and organizers. We sometimes forget that an intentional component of the AISL conference is for regions to show off their local culture. In particular, this conference we stayed in an historically significant hotel, and even had a talk from a staff member about the history of the building and the companies that built and maintained it. Several participants shared that they found ways to go hiking in the area, and we had chances to visit local museums. For those among us who had only ever experienced Geogia O’Keeffe’s flowers, this was a change to go deeper into her work. For many of us, the pace and style of life in Santa Fe did juxtapose with our own community’s pace of life – it was exciting to experience a new way of being. In addition, it was so much fun to see the ways that students in different local schools contributed to the co-creation of their libraries’ cultures. Thank you to everyone who gave of themselves, shared their spaces, and brought us along for the ride!

Thank you to experience contributors Jole Seroff (Castilleja School), Jill Maza (Montclair Kimberley Academy), Megan Kilgallen (Packer Collegiate), Amy Pelman (Harker School), Kristen Robb (Poly Prep Lower School), and Sara Kelley-Mudie (Beaver Country Day School). And thank you to all the presenters who gave permission to post their documents here for the whole group!

After a busy term — compelling professional development and a bit of musical library love

Work has been delightfully and overwhelmingly busy the last several months, and so it has been hard to think about much beyond the next project in the queue. There was a week back there where I was excited about a number of Webinars on fascinating topics, but was unable to participate with any of them.

As a result, I’ve been enjoying catching up with archived professional development while washing dishes, making myself do a little crafting for fun, or prepping dinner. For those of you who might want to do the same over break (or, after break!) here are two excellent options:

Search Engines as Gates and Gateways to Misinformation From the University of Maryland College of Information Science’s Search Mastery Speaker Series comes Jevin West, Associate Professor at the University of Washington. He looked at the ways search engines can prioritize quality content but can also give credence to misinformation. Particularly interesting was his research on how academic recommendations tools impact the shape of scientific literature.

Through Chokepoint Capitalism – How Big Tech Captured Creative Labor Markets, Cory Doctorow and Rebecca Giblin taught me a lot about the behind-the-scenes (or purposefully hidden) impact on authors of both the winnowing of companies in the field of publishing and the practices that Amazon has created, as a monopsony – creating a single-buyer market for creative output.

Also, a fun addition from librarian-in-training and host of the Broad… Wait for It… podcast, Rebecca Barabas: Matilda: The Musical (available on Netflix) apparently offers a healthy dose of library joy. Highly recommended for the pure fun of it!

Wishing all a restorative break and a wonderful new year!

Can we share philosophies of teaching research?

Well…this blog post was due yesterday, which was Back to School Night around here. So, I’m running a tad behind.

For Back to School Night I was asked to create a tri-fold board summarizing our seven year research skills curriculum. It was quite a challenge (hence the late post). I’m sharing a picture of my poster below, but it really made me want to hear from our group:

Please share your philosophy behind how you develop your information literacy curriculum. It can be one sentence, or just bullet points. If it would help, maybe share a short bit of personal history about how you got there. Please share in the comments below.

Through this blog, our conferences, and our list we have so many discussions about teaching information literacy, and I think it would be amazing if we could see a wealth of different ways of approaching the endeavor of teaching research skills.

The Times They **Keep** A-Changin’

Welcome to a new school year! This post, despite its title, is a cheerful (hopefully cheering?) look at changes still underway….

Current library door decorated by Christina Appleberry, Library Services Specialist

Show of hands: How many of you have returned to this year only to discover a new wave of changes to your program?

I may be the only one with my hand in the air, but I doubt it.

This week the ten-month-contract educators all returned to my school. Like many other schools, we have had a lot of shifting around: some new elements to our schedule and some new teachers; switching up who is teaching what class and changing out class deans, not to mention transitioning who is the lead teacher for any given class.

Amid this refresh, we have been discovering quite a few unanticipated changes that are a challenge to our program. For example, some tweaks to the school’s method of orienting new students – in order to avoid too much school time before the year formally begins, a response to the long arm of COVID-driven societal changes – is transforming the way we in the library will meet new students.

Similarly, I have intentionally ended the project that gave me the most relationship-building and instructional time with our 9th graders, the first year upper school students. During our January intersession, each grade-level has a special project. For the nine years I have been at my school, we have had the same (generally speaking) project for our ninth grade, and I have been on the teaching team since day one. During lockdown, the grade level-project was (by necessity) cut from an October-February, 40-50-hour project to being just 6 hours in January. We adapted the curriculum and the expectations, but we really needed to stop trying to figure out how to fit a big thing into a small box. As the newly minted lead of the project, I decided it was time to “murder my darlings” (to quote Arthur Quiller-Couch) and set that project aside altogether.

In doing so, I forfeit many hours of instruction and interaction with our ninth graders. Particularly, hours that colleagues were required to have me in their classrooms to prepare students for the project. Hours that I counted on to introduce the philosophy and basic logistics of upper school research education, not to mention time to interact at length with individual students and their four-person groups. It is a moment of letting go for the greater good. I am trying not to panic.

So – I am heading into this year well aware that there is very little that will be the same as it has been in past years. I have a lot less clarity than I have in about a decade about where my work will be situated in the coming year. All of this sounds very doom and gloom, but really – I am striving to remember – it is very exciting! I always strive to question what I have been doing, look it over, refresh it. It is tiring, but really a chance to question my assumptions, involve my Research TAs in decision-making and curriculum formulation, and learn. Well…here is my opportunity.

The truth is, I always have many more skills I want to teach than I will have the opportunity to undertake with students. Since I always have to make hard choices, I am focusing on the chance to pick what I think is most useful to students now, what skills they most need today. Might this year’s ninth graders not get some of the skills that ninth graders got five years ago? Certainly. Will they have a chance to learn something new and deeply relevant? Also, certainly. It is really mostly upside, with a side-order of hustle.

As I am writing, I am realizing that I want to frame conversations with colleagues as an exploration of what today’s students need that is different from past years. Approach with an assumption that change is in the air (as is the opportunity to keep what we have built in the past). It really is an exciting opportunity, now that I think about it.

So, thank you for listening. You have given me the opportunity to think through a scary moment to the excitement underneath.

Where will this year go? Who knows! I look forward to sharing the journey and hope that you will do the same. May you have a meaningful and uplifting new year.

Urge your state school library association to join School Librarians Learning Networks

One of the greatest joys for me is learning with and from other librarians. It is one of the features that makes AISL so wonderful!

Presumably Steve Tetreault, a librarian with a career in New Jersey public schools, feels the same way. He is working to get the School Librarian Learning Network (SLLN) up and running.

The intent of SLLN is to scale the PD that is taking place in different state school librarian associations. Tetreault aims to have different state associations share their online professional development trainings across the SLLN’s entire membership. A new collaboration across states could provide “virtual professional development opportunities on a regular, rotating basis.” (From their homepage.)

Because it is summer, and I am a bit slow, I now have a bit more information to add: Steve reports that his goal is to get as many state organizations as possible working together in a coordinated effort to offer several PD opportunities a month, every month, to school librarians across the country; with some coordination, that would make it so each state org would only have to figure out a small number of PD offerings each year, while being able to take advantage of a whole lot more. At the moment, joining SLLN is pretty straight-forward – anyone can visit the site to see free learning opportunities he has come across and use the links to sign up.

Is your state a member? So far New Jersey; Louisiana; Washington, DC; and Nebraska have joined. I have contacted California School Library Association and requested they join.

I urge AISL members to reach out to your state TL organizations and request that they join SLLN, as well. Together, we can continue to update, grow, and learn as a profession!

Not only is this network a cool idea, but as we are seeing a lot of threats to libraries that we need to be discussing across state lines. These threats both make use of local laws and government structures and of anti-library groups are coordinating more fully across different states with the goal of impacting how libraries function in each location.

In other words, we need a national network to help us tackle local issues. I’ve been chatting with TLs around the country and am discovering that a librarian who is very deeply educated about anti-database legislation in their own state may not have any idea what the organizations and conversations are on the national stage.

We need to talk to each other, learn together – and from each other.

I was thinking of Cathy Leverkus’ AISL publishing group and her point that AISL members need to reach out and share our wealth of experience with others in our profession. So, not only can we request that our state teacher librarian associations join this nationwide endeavor, we can also offer to lead AP that our states can offer as their contributions to SLLN.

Please join me in supporting this wonderful national initiative!

Great PD next week! Global Factcheck 9

Last October I had the great good luck to attend a conference for professional fact checkers organized by the International Fact-Checking Network at the Poynter Institute. It was cool enough to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and — as they vowed to be back in-person for 2022 — I thought for sure it would be just that.

Happily, I received an email just this week telling me that the conference will be hybrid this year. Next week (June 22-June 25) it will take place in Norway, but will also be offered virtually. You can find more information here.

At this very global conference you can hear panels, such as the one involving journalists from Brazil, Kenya, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Phillippines, discussing fact-checking during elections. Another multinational panel discusses media information literacy from the point of view of professional fact-checkers. There will be sessions on conspiracy theorists and on the relationship between research findings in the field and practical applications. It looks pretty great, to be frank.

So, if you are looking for a taste of PD for the summer, and want to engage with a field that is both familiar and unfamiliar, check out Global FactCheck 9! If you need a bit more flexibility on timing, I also recommend viewing recordings of sessions from past years of the conference on the International Fact-Checking Network’s YouTube channel.