AASL 2019 Recap

This year’s American Association of School Libraries (AASL) Conference took place in Louisville, Kentucky, from Thursday, November 14th to Saturday, November 16th.

The AASL Conference began on Thursday morning, with an option to register for a two-hours pre-conference session.

The conference kicked up in earnest in the afternoon with the opening of the IdeaLab. The IdeaLab offered a place for librarians to walk around and hear quick presentations on what other librarians are doing in their own spaces. Some presentation topics included opening the library over the summer, research and inquiry units, digital literacy programs, and ways to integrate more technology into our work.

Soon after the IdeaLab closed, the conference officially kicked off with the opening general session! A joyful welcome included special shout-outs to state and regional library associations, who each took a turn (and a bow) on stage.

Ellen Oh, a YA author and co-founder of We Need Diverse Books, then addressed the crowd, sharing her message of how vital diversity is to our work as librarians largely through touching, personal stories of her own life and the lives of her three children.

The following two days were filled with meaningful concurrent sessions, often with so many enthusiastic attendees that you could regularly find participants sitting on the floor. All sessions were categorized according to AASL Shared Foundations: inquire, include, collaborate, curate, explore and engage.

As a first time attendee, I am grateful for such a space, where those of us who do this work can come together and share, be it our struggles or our triumphs, and find a community all our own. I look forward to more experiences to come.

Christine Nassar is a First Program Librarian at Dalton and one of HVLA’s vice-presidents.

Fall Meeting 2019 Recap: Small Press Preview

00100lPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20191107155216013_COVEROn November 7, HVLA members gathered for our Fall Meeting. Hosted by the librarians at Friends Seminary, the meeting showcased new and upcoming titles from small presses. Attendees had the chance to preview titles and talk with publishers, as well as catch up with colleagues from other schools before the Small Press Preview presentation. Everyone was able to take a book from one of the featured presses back to their libraries!

IMG_20191107_172432Huge thank you’s to our gracious hosts at Friends Seminary, as well as the publishers who came to share their titles with us:

Blue Dot Kids Press

Boyds Mills & Kane

Elsewhere Editions

Enchanted Lion Books

Greystone KidsIMG_20191107_162807

Flying Eye Books


Pow! Kids Books

Readers to Eaters

Workman Publishing 

If you weren’t able to make it to the meeting, or if you’d like another look at the titles presented, take a look at the HVLA Small Press Preview slides. Also, let’s keep the conversation on collection development resources going- don’t forget to add to the Collection Development Tools padlet!

My Personal Journey as a Baby Boomer Librarian Reading Comics in Ten or So Episodes

  1. I grew up reading comics, beginning with Brenda Starr and Dick Tracy, the detective with a two-way walkie talkie watch.  Didn’t that watch lead us to the smartwatch?


Blackthorne; web source: http://www.comics.org/details.lasso?id=234705

Photo Illustration, PLStamps/Alamy

  1. Graduating to the Peanuts comic strip, I loved it so much that I cut and pasted individual episodes to the inside of my closet door. What a pleasure it has been as a librarian to introduce these characters to elementary school students 50 years after the strips were written!


  1. Doonesbury was cool as I became an adult and learned that Uncle Duke was based on Hunter Thompson.



  1. Entering the workforce, I was more inclined to Cathy Guisewite’s comic named after herself, so relieved to see a woman-made comic.



  1. Lynda Barry was a revelation- so hectically brilliant!


  1. Persepolis, created by Marjane Satrapi, another woman graphic novelist, demonstrated how historical eras can be depicted in comics.patty8

  2. Not that Art Spiegelman had not led the way.  Having survived the 9/11 terrorist attacks downtown, reading his In the Shadow of No Towers was strangely comforting. 


  1. Fun Home has the depth and emotional charge of the most troubling family history.patty11

  1. When Roz Chast published Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, I shouted with joy while mourning the loss of her parents.  A lifelong reader of the New Yorker, I always went to the cartoons first.  My grandmother liked to decorate gift packages with New Yorker cartoons.patty12

  1. Raina Telgemeier: Need I say more?


One of the many challenges of school librarians is how to keep these beauties in stock.

As fewer English teachers and parents complain about their children reading graphic novels, as if they were not as good as a classic work of print literature, it is important to teach visual literacy in all of its forms.  We are barraged every day with images, and students need to know how to navigate them, how to deconstruct them, and how to enjoy the many excellent new graphic novels coming out, such as my favorite this year:

  1. New Kid


Jerry Craft makes the experience of being a student of color in a private school familiar and troubling and touching.

P. Aakre 4.18After retiring from full-time work at Brearley, Patty Aakre works in the lower school library at PS 89 and with the National Audubon Society’s For the Birds program, teaching lower school students about birds. She is currently the Recording Secretary for HVLA and a reviewer for SLJ. Other favorite graphic novels not mentioned include: Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese and Boxers and Saints, Shannon Hale’s Real Friends, and Emil Ferris’ My Favorite Thing Is Monsters.


HVLA Fall 2019 Survey Results

I hope you are having a smooth transition into the 2019 – 2020 school year.

Thank you to those who have already filled out your member survey. 

Having read through the responses thus far, here are the initial findings:

  • 94% of members hope to obtain a professional network from HVLA.
  • 84% of members would like HVLA conferences and events related to library curriculum. Some members gave the feedback that they would like to learn more about research instruction. Also the board heard from upper school/high school librarians who are hoping to have more events geared toward their practice.
  • 70% of members would like conferences and events related to collection development.

You chose the Small Press Preview as our most impactful event from the last two years. We are thrilled that our fall meeting will be another Small Press Preview hosted by Friends Seminary! Please check your email from HVLA for event details.

You also found the Diversity and Inclusion in School Libraries event to be quite impactful, and we are planning to follow up with more events on this topic.

One piece of feedback that we received from multiple members is that HVLA librarians appreciate events like Drag Queen Story Hour where children are invited to attend.

The HVLA board has met and reviewed your responses and we will continue to make decisions based on your valuable feedback.

If you haven’t already, please fill out your survey. We will resend the link to the survey in an email.

The HVLA board is eager to hear from all of you. 

-Gili Warsett, HVLA President

Welcome New HVLA Board Members

We are excited to welcome to our new HVLA Board Members!

IMG_20170416_145626 (1)Bethany Martin is a “Navy brat” who studied sociology at New College of Florida, before moving to New York City. She earned her MSLIS from Pratt and worked as the Director of Library Services at Dwight School for ten years before becoming Director of Libraries at Trinity School. She’s spent quite a bit of time thinking about using games to teach research skills and the ideal way to evaluate independent school librarians. Predictably, Bethany enjoys reading. She lives in Queens with her husband and son. She is usually up for a board game or a cup of tea, and her Instagram feed is full of different playgrounds she’s visited with her son and odd books she’s weeded from her library’s collection.

Christine Nassar is a librarian at The Dalton School, working with grades K-3. She Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 3.40.00 PMobtained her Master’s of Information from Rutgers University, with a concentration in Library and Information Sciences, and a specialization in School Media. She is a lover of graphic novels and picture books. Some of Christine’s favorites are Journey, by Aaron Becker, Stuck, by Oliver Jeffers, and Cardboard Kingdom, by Chad Sell. Christine speaks English, French, Arabic, and some rather rusty Italian, which she is always happy to practice.




Lisa Norberg is the Library Director and College Advisor for La Scuola d’Italia “Guglielmo Marconi”. She loves working with faculty to find new ways to integrate the library into the curriculum and collaborating on the unending challenge of making students discerning information consumers. Before transitioning to school librarianship, Lisa spent over 20 years in academic libraries, holding positions at Barnard College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Penn State Harrisburg, and George Mason University. She has a M.L.S. from Indiana University at Bloomington and a B.S. from the University of Wyoming. She is an advocate for open access publishing, a lover of jazz and an Italian organic farmer wannabe.