Emerging Leaders 2016 AASL Project: Introduction
The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is interested in developing a resource guide to help school librarians with underserved student populations. The resource guide would offer programming, strategies, and resources for helping serve the following transient student populations:
This project stems from a concern brought forward from AASL’s Affiliate Assembly. A summary of the concern follows:
Many school systems in the country are faced with growing levels of poverty in their communities and ever increasing academic gaps between students from impoverished and affluent homes. For example, more than 2,000 students in Wichita, Kansas are considered homeless and over 66% of Emporia students accept free or reduced lunch. Many families perpetuate a condition their families have survived for generations. The school library is the pipeline to this century for many of these students.
Numerous students do not live in one household with two parents/guardians. Often times, students live in two or more households, and sometimes with a grandparent or other guardian for select days a month. When students live in multiple homes or must move several times in a year, their access to academic resources and educators becomes limited.
These transient student groups are at a higher risk of not graduating high school, not being functionally literate, and not becoming productive members of society. Not only are these students leaving schools without basic lifelong learning skills or experience with a library, they are often not returning school library materials and text books that are vital to the school.
It is important that school libraries impart the desire for information, as well as provide access and guidance to locate information. These students can live an informed life, even if they choose not to leave the area or change their way of living. The school library and its resources offer students a life-choice that they may not experience in the classroom or at home.