Media services and school libraries continue to evolve at a brisk pace, but we all can probably point to a librarian who has made a difference in our or our students’ lives. Quietly coming alongside students to guide them along their journey toward independent learning, or building a special array of resources at the heart of the school, librarians are key to learning.
What you may not know, is that there is a state organization for school librarians that is dedicated to both recognizing great media professionals, and to providing those professionals with continuing education and new resources. Whether you are a school librarian, an aspiring librarian or a colleague wanting to help recognize a librarian, you should get to know what the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) has to offer.
The NJASL recognizes achievements of school librarians and helps students who are looking to start a career as a librarian. School district employees, such as teachers and librarians, can visit the NJASL website to nominate colleagues who they think deserve special recognition. Teachers and administrators can also provide a connection to scholarship opportunities for students that wish to devote their futures to becoming librarians and media specialists.
Along with the awards given to current and future librarians, the NJASL also looks to recognize gifted administrators, authors/illustrators, and those with a strong knowledge of technology. Application deadlines for awards vary, but check the website below for further details.
Beyond being a bastion for scholarships, the NJASL also has a fall conference that provides professional development for librarians who wish to gain further knowledge about how to move forward with curriculum and technology. The conference will take place at the beautiful Ocean Place Spa and Resort in Long Branch, NJ on Thursday, November 16th and Friday, November 17th. It is a great opportunity for media specialists to become more knowledgeable about how to make their environment even more interactive and unique for students. It’s also a great place to meet fellow librarians and compare notes.
For conference information, go here:
The website is also extremely helpful for educators looking to document student growth. There’s a tab that lists elements such as Common Core State Standards, SGO’s (student growth objectives), mentoring (overseeing a new teacher and providing them training), and curriculum planning. There is also a listing of professional development opportunities for librarians to keep an eye on, as well as employment opportunities for members.
If you wish to walk the path to becoming a school librarian, the website provides a detailed description of the steps you must take. Colleges/Universities in the state that offer such a program to gain certification in the field are listed, so a lot of the guesswork is taken out for those looking to find such schooling. All of this information is found on the resource tab on the NJASL website.
The NJASL provides recognition and opportunities for those wishing to gain further advancement in the field of media specialist. For librarians wishing to know more about the ever-growing technological strength of what their classroom can provide, the NJASL offers many professional development workshops. If you are a school librarian, wish to become one, or know someone who is, use this website to your advantage — it’s a great resource. The NJASL dedicates itself to serving a field that is unfortunately becoming less and less mandatory.
Support of the school library is a must, and the NJASL is both a great organization, and a great tool to help those passionately working to make the school library a thriving home for education.
To learn more about the NJ Association of Librarian, click here.
-Logan J. Fowler, Special Education Teacher, Princeton, NJ.