April 2018

President's Message

Dear NJASL Members-

Happy School Library Month! I hope you enjoyed the month of April and were able to find time to celebrate in your libraries. I was honored to attend the NJ State Board of Education meeting on April 11th to represent NJASL and receive our School Library Month Resolution from the Board.

The following are my words of appreciation that I read at the Board meeting:

On behalf of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, I would like to thank the President of the Board of Education, Mr. Aponte, members of the State Board of Education, and Acting Commissioner Repollet for proclaiming April as School Library Month.

As President of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL), I thank you for this proclamation on behalf our 1000 NJASL Members who have dedicated their careers to NJ School Libraries. The celebration of National School Library Month began at the American Association of School Librarians, our national professional organization, in 1985. The theme of this year’s national celebration is “Making Connections”.

New Jersey School librarians work tirelessly to make connections in their libraries everyday. We connect students to curated resources and digital tools to create meaningful real world research opportunities. We connect teachers to technology to help them create authentic assessments that challenge our students to think critically.

We create communities in our libraries that support the social and emotional growth and development of students, allowing them to develop connections in and out of the classroom.

Our libraries are no longer quiet places with lots of shushing. Our libraries are collaborative spaces where student are empowered as creators. We create spaces for personalized student learning that is the key to making NJ schools “Future Ready schools”.

But despite all the changes that the 21st century brings to our libraries, NJASL’s primary guiding principle is that reading is essential for personal and academic success. We love our books and sharing our love of reading.

Because April is also National Poetry month, I would like to conclude by reading a poem about libraries by American poet, activist and educator - Nikki Giovanni -


(for Kelli Martin)

a Library Is:

a place to be free

to be in space

to be in cave times

to be a cook

to be a crook

to be in love

to be unhappy

to be quick and smart

to be contained and cautious

to surf the rainbow

to sail the dreams

to be blue

to be jazz

to be wonderful

to be you

a place to be

yeah… to be

I invite you to contact NJASL and arrange to visit one of our libraries so you can learn firsthand how a school library impacts student learning.

Thank you once again for declaring April as School Library Month in New Jersey.

Happy reading,

Lisa Bakanas

NJASL President

Important News and Information



NJASL's mailing address has changed. Please send our new address to your business office so that your purchase orders for membership and conference are sent to the correct location.

Our new address:



PO Box 1460

Springfield, NJ 07081

New NJASL Board of Trustees Members

Congratulations! Thank you to the membership who voted!

Announcing the newest members to the NJASL Board of Trustees!

Vice President Beth Thomas

Secretary Christine Halstater

Treasurer Jean Stock

Member-at- Large Amy Gazaleh

AASL Representative Hilda Weisburg

ISTE Liaison Renee Rogers

These Ladies will officially join the NJASL Board at the August Board Meeting!

2018 Villy Gandhi Leadership Training Scholarship Winner

by Leslie Blatt

Tara Collins has been named as the 2018 Villy Gandhi Leadership Training Scholarship recipient.

Tara is the Library Media Specialist at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in the Fair Lawn School District. Over her ten years as a LMS she has taught in Pre – K to 8th grade schools where she has worked with students of all abilities. She loves to combine her love of literature with the technologies of today.

Tara’s philosophy is based on the five concepts known as “habits of mind” from the Coalition of Essential Schools (Deborah Meier & Ted Sizer). These concepts: Significance, Perspective, Evidence, Connection and Supposition help Tara to create her lessons to be relevant so her students can connect to and transfer the knowledge they gain from the Library to other content areas and to real life.

Tara is fortunate to have a flexible schedule which gives her the opportunity to collaborate with her teachers and also to accommodate them within their schedules. Another advantage to a flexible schedule and having an accommodating administration, is the opportunity to attend professional development workshops and then to turnkey this knowledge to her colleagues. This fits in very well with a vision Tara has of her future – she would like to travel, providing professional development to teachers and graduate students by offering hands-on practical applications workshops that also demonstrate new technologies in teaching and learning. Another part of this vision is to do this in underrepresented populations.

This is only the “tip” of what Tara sent to the committee. The recommendations from her principal and supervisor were exemplary. She is considered an “amazing resource who values an awareness and study of the professional trends in her field due to her connections to professional organizations, professional development and individual research.” She has been described as having a passion and love for the children and “truly shines” especially when teaching the ELL population. She is full of compassion and understanding of their learning capabilities so much so that the children KNOW the library is where they will always receive help and be encouraged when the learning seems overwhelming.

Tara received the Governors Educational Specialist of the Year at TJMS (2017-18), is President of Morris County School Media Association, is on the Clinical Faculty at Montclair State University, a member of NJASL, serves on Future Ready Schools NJ Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment Task Force and on Future Ready Librarians NJ (NJASL committee).

Tara, as the Villy for 2018, is perfect for the position! She will represent NJASL very well at the AECT Convention and will be a great addition to the NJASL Board of Trustees. Tara will be honored at the NJASL Conference where the Villy plaque will be co-presented by the AECT President Trey Martindale.

Congratulations Tara!

Congratulations to Dagmar Finkle

On May 20, 2018 Dagmar Finkle will be inducted into the Lakewood High School Alumni Hall of Fame.

Dagmar is a NJASL Past President and a retired School Library Media Specialist.

NJASL would like to congratulate Dagmar on receiving this wonderful honor!

NJASL Legislative Consultant

- Mary Moyer Stubbs

Legislative Highlights - April Updates

NJ School Library Legislation Updates:


The companion Senate bill to A1995 has been introduced by Senator Beach (LD#6). S2394 has been referred to the Senate Education Committee. These two bills would require a certain ratio of school librarians to students. A132: This bill would require information literacy curriculum in all schools for students in grades K-12.

Visit the NJASL webpage for more information about these three bills. Additionally, take a few moments to email the members of the Assembly and Senate Education Committee to ask them to co-sponsor these bills and post for a vote in the Education Committee. A list of the Assembly and Senate Education Committee members are found on the NJASL webpage.

For more information and supporting details, the Unlock Student Potential webpage has a great infographic on How School Librarians Unlock Student Potential.

Sample message to legislators:

School Library Media Specialists (SLMS) provide instruction in information literacy, develop and coordinate school library media center programs and resources, and help students develop vital critical thinking and research skills that translate into success in higher education and beyond. However, too many schools are electing to eliminate their SLMS even with overwhelming evidence from multiple studies related to increased student academic achievement and presence of SLMS. SLMS provide a maximum return on investment of school media centers and provide students with the skills that are needed for the competitive workforce.

Please co-sponsor, A 1995 / S2394 and ask that the Education Committees release this bill for a vote in Committee.

Please co-sponsor, A132 and ask that the Education Committees release this bill for a vote in Committee.

PARCC Update

The NJ Department of Education has a contract to continue PARCC testing for this school year and for academic school year, 2018-2019. The NJ DOE is looking to possibly create a hybrid to testing similar to Massachusetts’ system that combines PARCC and the state’s own self-generated testing. Additionally, the state spends approximately $25 million on testing including $5.3 million for the new Science assessment.

Click on link to read the full article.

School Funding Update

The state’s nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services has provided the latest estimate of what every district would receive under the school finance law if schools were “fully funded” as detailed in the School Funding Reform Act of 2008. However, it is a very costly proposal to the tune of $2.3 billion. Click on link to read the full article.

Successful Advocacy Parent Efforts

The parent group, Haddon Heights Families for School Libraries in Haddon Heights, Camden County has been advocating with their school board for an elementary SLMS for their district. They have been successful in having a part-time position added to the budget for next school year, 2018-2019. Congratulations to them for their advocacy!

Visit their Facebook page for more information on their efforts.

Digital Devices and Impact on Children’s Hands-on Skills

This was an interesting Op-Ed on children's use of digital devices and its impact on their hands-on skills. The article makes Makerspace Areas in School Libraries even more valuable and could be helpful as a justification for those that might be trying to implement a Makerspace Area for their school library. Click on the link to read the full article.

Bedtime Math:

This website is really designed for families to show the recreational side of math and to bring down math anxiety in children.

ALA Virtual Library Legislative Day - May 7, 8

This year, National Library Legislative Day will be May 7-8, 2018. Virtual Library Legislative Day activities will be held throughout the week of May 7-11, 2018, and will be an opportunity for all library advocates to make their voices heard on a national level. Library advocates who cannot make it to Capitol Hill for the event can be a part of the effort by calling and/or emailing their elected officials any time the week of May 7-11.

Register now to support libraries for Virtual Library Legislative Day

For more information about ALA Virtual Legislative Day, click on the link.

As the NJASL Legislative Consultant, I will be attending the ALA Legislative Day in person and will share stories about the state of school libraries. If you have stories (about successes and/or challenges), please email me so that I can share with your legislators. If you would be willing to have a legislator visit your school, please email me and I can work with you and your legislator to coordinate a visit. Email:

The main issues that will be shared with legislators:

  • Senate: Reauthorize the Museum and Library Services Act

  • House & Senate: Fully Fund LSTA / IAL for FY 2019

  • House & Senate: Visit a library, see broadband access in action

Professional Practice & Development

Registration now Open!

The NJLA Conference is coming! Registration is now open for the pre-conference session cosponsored by NJASL!

Check out the image included and you can visit the website for more information!

CISSL Summer Institute!

Wednesday, July 25th, 8am to Saturday, July 28th, 11pm

Rutgers University University Inn and Conference Center 178 Ryders Lane New Brunswick, NJ 08901

The Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL) at Rutgers University

Summer Institute (July 25-27, 2018)

Guided Inquiry for Student Learning

Fifth Residential
CiSSL Summer Institute

Preparing teams of teachers, school librarians and administrators
to implement Guided Inquiry in their school districts

This is a rare opportunity for a team from your school to learn how to design and implement Guided Inquiry, a method that transforms the way students engage information to build critical thinking, creativity, and deep understanding for college and career readiness.

Based on the extensive research of Dr. Carol Kuhlthau, Guided Inquiry provides a visionary, constructivist approach to addressing Common Core State Standards and developing students as reflective learners in the process of seeking, evaluating and using a variety of sources of information.

Click here for more information!

Check out the below materials newly added to the AASL Standards portal!

NJASL Affiliate News

BELS Spotlight

Check out the below newsletter from BELS to check out what they've been up to!

Morris County School Media Association

Thursday, May 17th, 4pm

511 Millbrook Avenue

Randolph, NJ

Morris County School Media Association is hosting a "technology share," in which participants share technology that has impacted their library. Each participant should think of 5 different tools, apps, programs, tricks, etc. that have impacted their library program in a positive way. We will be meeting at Randolph High School on Thursday, May 17th. Socializing begins at 4 and the meeting kicks off at 4:30 p.m.

THANK YOU! Looking for submissions...

Don't forget that we are always looking for entries from ALL membership. I will also be adding a Future Ready Librarian section moving forward to show off how we all already are "Future Ready". Please share articles with me at the email address. You can check out the Future Ready Indicators to inspire you!