Like many high and middle school librarians, I am a member of both YALSA and AASL. For this year’s Midwinter Conference, I was fortunate to attend the AASL Pre-Institute Bringing ‘Em On: 21st Century Skills Aligning with Standards. Led by Pam Berger, the hands-on workshop taught participants about both the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) and the new AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner.

Whether you’re in a school or public library, you may be interested in checking out the standards, which focus on giving our patrons the skills they will need to thrive in the world that awaits them.

Briefly, for P21′  a number of educational groups and corporations got together and created a vision for what the skills they think future employees will need, summarized in this model:


The AASL was one of the members of the group, with AASL’s Executive Director Julie Walker on the board,’  so it should come as no surprise that “Information, Media, and Technology Skills” are one of the broad categories At the same time, AASL was developing its new standards which focus on the learner and can be used to flesh out the Information, Media, and Technology skills strand. The two programs work together rather than in competition.

Familiarizing yourself with P21 and the AASL standards can help you to secure funding, enlist community support, and encourage collaboaration. They can be used to provide support for programs at your library, such as gaming. They also provide a common framework for public and school library collaborations. For example, many public libraries provide multiple copies of school summer reading lists. If on top of this, the public library offered a program on creating book trailers of these books, they’d be meeting the skill of creating media projects from P21 and “Use the writing process, media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings” from the AASL standards.

Take the time to look through both the P21 Skills and the AASL Standards and see how you can incorporate them into your programming. If you have the opportunity to do professional development around these programs, especially with Pam Berger, I’d highly recommend it.

One Thought on “AASL: Pre-Institute on New Standards

  1. Ditto! I was there as well and enjoyed it very much. I especially loved the way Pam set the day up with fun brainstorming activities that got us moving about and talking with lots of people. No sage on the stage for her!

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