Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals:
2019 California School Library Association Conference
I would like to encourage you to consider supporting the attendance of administrators, teachers, teacher-librarians, and other staff from your district and schools at the upcoming annual conference of the California School Library Association (CSLA) in City of Industry, California, on February 7–10, 2019. The theme of the conference is DREAMS: Design, Research, Engineering, Arts, Math, and Science—supporting all educators in all content areas as we work to develop students’ critical thinking and information literacy skills.
An important highlight of this conference is the administrative leadership day on Thursday, February 7, with the theme of “Begin with the Endless in Mind—Igniting DREAMS!” This day will continue the conversation started on May 23, 2018, with the California Department of Education’s (CDE) first Media and Information Literacy Summit (Summit). You can read more about the Summit in a previous CDE letter here: https://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/el/le/yr18ltr0403b.asp. At that Summit, we learned that people wanted to know more about the connections between media and information literacy and social emotional learning, accessibility, civics, equity, and how to better support English learners. The expert speakers that CSLA has invited, including Alan November and Delaine Eastin, will focus on these topics and help participants become agents of transformation within their schools, districts, and communities. The administrative leadership day will provide both visionary thinking as well as practical ways in which to bring change. Additionally, by purchasing a ticket to this event, administrators will receive admission to the entire conference.
At the conference, sessions will include how to support makerspaces, facilitate collaborative lessons between content area teachers, and discuss library funding strategies. There are also multiple opportunities to learn about free statewide databases—Britannica, ProQuest, and TeachingBooks.net. You can find out more about the statewide databases on the California State Library website: https://www.library.ca.gov/services/to-public/k-12-online-content-project/.
Our students desperately need support in information and media literacy. According to the Stanford study, “Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning” (read the full report on the Stanford University Libraries web page at https://purl.stanford.edu/fv751yt5934), the vast majority of our students are unable to distinguish real information from “fake news.” This affects every aspect of their lives. Students and teachers need to be able to think critically and be media and information literate, and on the forefront of this effort are our teacher-librarians. However, according to the CDE’s Statistics about California School Libraries web page (https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/lb/schoollibrstats08.asp), only approximately nine percent of California schools have a credentialed teacher-librarian on campus. This means that both teacher-librarians and all educators at a district share responsibility for supporting our students to develop critical thinking and information literacy skills.
The Model School Library Standards (found on the CDE’s School Library Standards web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/lb/schoollibstnds2017.asp) are central to developing information literacy and are applicable across disciplines. Students should be developing information literacy skills throughout their educational careers. It is the responsibility of all educators to integrate information literacy into their lessons, and the CSLA conference is the perfect opportunity to learn how to do so.
The CSLA has put together an amazing event that administrators, teacher-librarians, teachers, and paraprofessionals can benefit from. For more information about attending the conference, please visit the CSLA’s Conference web page at http://csla.net/2019-conference/ or email the CSLA’s Administrative Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you will be able to support your staff and faculty’s attendance at the conference so that they will come away with more ideas to help California’s students become critical thinkers and lifelong learners!