The American Association of School Librarians 16th national conference will be held from November 14–17 in Hartford, Conn., and this year’s theme is “Rising to the Challenge.” The focused information for school librarians and the opportunity to interact with, colleagues, vendors, and authors, is always something we look forward to. If you are attending, be sure to say hello if you see us in the exhibit hall, or stop by our session, Be Visible! Advocate for Your Library at a School Board Meeting!

Regardless of whether you are a school librarian, if you’d like to find out more about the Common Core and its effect on librarians, research, reading, and selection of print and digital resources, AASL provides that opportunity. If you are an author, consider attending a session and interacting with those in the field to gain insight as to what types of titles teacher-librarians are looking for.

Listed below are some of the concurrent sessions that will focus on the Common Core at the AASL Annual Conference. The session information provided below is a partial, curated list. Check out the AASL Web site for more sessions and further information. You will notice that more than 70 sessions will be slidecast recorded and available to registrants on eCOLLAB.

Are you registered for AASL and interested in sharing your news with fellow educators? Download a Web badge at and spread the word by downloading “I’m Attending,” “I'm Tweeting,” and “I’m Presenting” badges for your Web site or blog. You can also download the AASL13 mobile app and dashboard to plan your conference schedule and receive updates on the go.

Are you unable to attend AASL 2013? Check out the virtual connection options at the end of this article.

Friday, November 15 8:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Launch a Common Core State Standards Conversion!
Attendees are invited to launch a CCSS conversion in their school libraries, isolate key standards to own, and discover how to dynamically and collaboratively embed these standards into a school curriculum to improve student learning. In this session, educators can acquire tools for teaching complex text, conducting 21st-century research, and measuring CCSS impact. Attendees will also gain practical strategies for developing specialized mini-collections and using other means to transform collections and library spaces to reflect pedagogical shifts.

The CCSS Conversation: Highlighting 25 Websites for the Standards
Find out what almost 50,000 people nationwide have learned about the best Web sites for CCSS resources, lessons, videos, and teaching strategies. Twenty-five will be highlighted. Participants are invited to continue sharing and collaborating throughout the school year by joining the CCSS Conversation PLN on Edmodo.

Friday, November 15 10:15 – 11:30 a.m.

Using AASL’s Lesson Plan Database to Integrate CCSS with AASL Standards
AASL’s Lesson Plan Database is an online resource providing school librarians a user-friendly way to create and share lesson plans that align AASL Standards with the ELA and mathematics CCSS. Participants in this BYOD session will take on the role of moderators as they evaluate unpublished lessons and rate published lessons. An in-depth exploration of the lesson plan template will be conducted, with hints on how to successfully submit a lesson for publication.

Using Apps and C.R.A.P. Testing to Rise to the CCSS Challenge (F2-R26)
Apps and Web 2.0 technologies can be everyday classroom tools that facilitate conformance with the CCSS. In this session, digital citizenship and tools to evaluate Web resources will be aligned with anchor standards; this evaluation will be conducted through the lens of the C.R.A.P. test (Currency, Reliability, Authority, and Perspective). Through engaging applications, writing standards for ELA, history, and science and technology can be integrated into existing lessons and provide new venues for innovative learning products, creativity, and collaboration.

Friday, November 15 1 p.m. – 2: 15 p.m.

CCSS Crusaders: Empowering Educators to Teach Research in Lower Grades

This session is geared toward school librarians who are looking for ways to increase their knowledge of research, technology, and the CCSS. Attendees will learn ways to get students excited about using the research process, synthesizing their learning, and sharing their knowledge through technology. Presenters will focus on how to empower and support lower-grade educators so that they can effectively guide students through the research process.

The New Nonfiction: Using Award-Winning Children’s Books to Support CCSS

Author-educator Melissa Stewart will introduce a broad range of recently published children’s nonfiction books that combine engaging text with innovative art and design in ways that delight as well as inform young readers. These titles have been paired with fun, effective activities and teaching strategies that directly address the goals of CCSS RIT #1–9. Attendees go home with a handout that lists more than 70 award-winning titles and with a flashdrive full of CCSS-related teaching ideas.

Friday, November 15 3:15 p.m. – 4:30

Graphic Novels, Comics, and CCSS: Using Graphic Novels Across the Elementary Curriculum
The graphic novel is an increasingly popular format for today;s learners. This session will present the hottest graphic novels for grades K–5, along with the research supporting graphic novels’ use in classrooms and reading instruction. Strategies and lesson ideas will be presented for using graphic novels to support AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and the CCSS.

STEM, CCSS, and Creating a Dynamic Collection: Concepts, Tools, and Strategies

With specific focus on open digital multimedia learning resources, this session will help school librarians evaluate, build, and maintain their STEM collections to help learners work toward the CCSS in mathematics, interdisciplinary reading, and the Next Generation Science Standards. Participants will learn how to align resources and gain hands-on experience selecting and creating catalog records for STEM digital resources that align to standards.

Saturday, November 16 8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Nonfiction and the CCSS (S1-MC)
Authors of nonfiction discuss how adoption of the CCSS has impacted their creative process or has it?

Saturday, November 16, 10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Reading – The Core of Learning: CCSS in the Elementary School Library (S2-C1-2)
CCSS – Talk about challenges! Talk about opportunities! Two seasoned school librarians, including author Toni Buzzeo, discuss implementing the standards for reading literature and reading informational text in elementary libraries. How does adoption of the CCSS change school librarians’ methods for sharing books with students? Change the books selected for school libraries? Change schedule-related practices? How do the standards intersect with AASL’s learning standards? Attendees at this session will get answers to these and other questions.

Repackaging Research Activities to Meet the CCSS Rising Above the Status Quo (S2-R27)
Paige Jaeger presents how status quo research activities can be transformed into CCSS-aligned projects that involve research to build and present knowledge. This session will provide a recipe for success on repackaging old hide-and-seek-for-facts units into projects of discovery, synthesis, and drawing conclusions. This session will address how to embrace the shifts resulting from adoption of the CCSS, while embedding rigor and relevance, and empowering students to change their world.

Saturday, November 16 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Connecting Students to the CCSS with Guided Inquiry and Digital Tools (S3-ME)
As students rise to the challenge of the CCSS curriculum, they need successful research strategies they can apply to numerous subject areas. Based on the principles of guided inquiry, interactive mini-lessons will be demonstrated. These lessons were designed to teach search strategies, note-taking, paraphrasing, and outlining to incorporate into research. An overview of research instruction at technology-rich Blue Valley Southwest High School in Overland Park, Kan., will also be shared.

Principal-Librarian-Teacher Teams Who REALLY DO Collaborate to Meet Standards! (S3-R22)
This session is a chance to meet and interact with a school team that is successfully developing and delivering collaborative classroom instruction integrating the Partnership for 21st Century Skills framework, AASL’s standards for learners, and the CCSS. Attendees will learn about the model developed under an IMLS grant to train school teams each consisting of administrator, classroom teacher, school librarian, and building technologist in collaborative instruction, 21st-century skills, and standards integration using a professional learning community approach.

Virtual Connections

If you are unable to attend AASL 2013 at the onsite conference, you can still participate virtually using the following tools:

Launch Pad

The AASL Conference daily newspaper will be available onsite from ThursdaySaturday. If you are unable to attend the conference you can still follow the stories by bookmarking the site at:

Conference Ning

Join the discussion and “Rise to the Challenge” by joining the conference Ning. View photos from the conference and read stories and takeaways from attendees.

The "UnConference"

For the first time ever, a late-night “edgy” meetup will take place on the Friday night of the conference. The purpose of the unconference will be to meet with peers and fellow educators, share best practices, and network. For more information on this event visit the Smore created by Joyce Valenza.


Follow the hashtag of #aasl13 on Twitter to read about conference events, summaries of sessions and to gain insight from attendees.