Thing 23: New AASL Standards

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Graphic of AASL Standards


In October 2018, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) released the new National School Library Standards that are actually three sets of standards that are similarly structured around the same concepts. The 3 sets of standards are:  for learners, for your library program and for you as a library professional.

Like any new set of standards, it’s easy to get totally overwhelmed, feel like a deer in the headlights and want to run away to a tropical island. Don’t get overwhelmed and don’t stand still! (Totally ok with the tropical island though….)


Here’s what we want you to take away from this lesson:

  • A familiarity with the language & structure of the new standards
  • Recognition that you’re already including many pieces of the new standards in the lessons you’re currently teaching and in the collaborations you’ve already built with your colleagues.

AASL Standards – Evolved and Familiar – 3 minute intro relates the new standards to previous ones.


We’ll focus on the Learner Standards for this Cool Tools lesson.  A great place to start is by exploring this short pamphlet outlining the AASL Standards Framework for Learner Standards. It includes a look at the basic language and structure of the standards. Those include ‘Shared Foundations’ and ‘Domains.’

Shared Foundations

The core of the standards are the six ‘Shared Foundations’ and their accompanying ‘KEY Committments’. 

  • Inquire
    • Build new knowledge by inquiring, thinking critically, identifying problems, and developing strategies for solving problems.
  • Include 
    • Demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to inclusiveness and respect for diversity in the learning community.
  • Collaborate
    • Work effectively with others to broaden perspectives and work toward common goals.
  • Curate
    • Make meaning for oneself and others by collecting, organizing, and sharing resources of personal relevance.
  • Explore
    • Discover and innovate in a growth mindset developed through experience and reflection.
  • Engage
    • Demonstrate safe, legal, and ethical creating and sharing of knowledge products independently while engaging in a community of practice and an interconnected world.


The Shared Foundations are coordinated with four learning categories, or ‘Domains’ as AASL calls them: THINKCREATESHARE and GROW

The Framework

Take a look at the 2 page grid in the learner brochure and see how the Domains and Shared Foundations are meshed.

Think about these points:

  • As you read through these, can you think of lessons and activities you’re already doing that include these activities?
  • Are there technology tools that immediately spring to mind for some of the standards?


As you start to work with the new standards, no doubt you will want to share the gist of them to your admin, other educators (who likely have their own sets of standards) and with parents/guardians. The AASL One-Pagers for Stakeholders are perfect for this.

Read through them and you’ll also gain more of a “big picture” view of the standards. These one-pagers, along with the School Libraries Transform Learning Message Box worksheet, will help you develop a clear message to share with your stakeholders.


Some additional articles and resources to explore if you want to dig deeper.


  • Try the exercise that Paige Jaeger suggests in New AASL Standards, So What? Print out the 2 page Standards Framework and grab 3 different colored highlighters. Think about the activities in the framework and highlight and use the different colors to identify:
    1. What you are doing already.
    2. Areas where you see a need to improve.
    3. Areas where you are “close.”
  • Look through the document Tech Tools & Resources AASL Standards for the Learner Which tech tool connections appeal to you?
  • (Thanks to the folks at School Library Connection for providing access to this article. Sign up for a 30 day free trial to see the wealth of info available through a School Library Connection subscription. )


  • Which of the 6 Shared Foundations resonates most with you?
  • What did you discover about your current practice by doing the exercise in Paige’s article?
  • Are there technology tools that fit in with some of the standards in the grid?
  • Other thoughts about the standards?


  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL (webpage address) for your post.
  • Return to your Google Classroom, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.