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AASL Inquire Project selected for ALA Emerging Leader Work

CHICAGO – Developing Inquisitive Learners, Critical Thinkers, and Resourceful Citizens, a project proposed by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), has been selected as a part of the 2023 American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leaders program. AASL’s project tasks an Emerging Leaders team to develop materials that support professional development and instruction around the National School Library Standards Shared Foundation of Inquire.

“With the amount of misinformation and disinformation which is amplified by social media in today’s world, it is more important than ever to focus on the Inquire Shared Foundation,” said AASL President Kathy Lester. “The AASL Standards focus on the school librarian’s role in teaching our learners the necessary skills for the inquiry process. It is important that all learners are able to find, organize, evaluate, use, and critically think about information to support their learning and lives.”

The Emerging Leaders program is a leadership development program which enables newer library workers from across the country to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity. The program culminates with a poster session presentation to display the results of the project work of each group at the ALA Annual Conference.

As part of the Inquire project, the Emerging Leaders team will be asked to develop a collection of activities and resources to support professional development and instruction. The team will also craft an infographic to help school librarians visually display their role in teaching learners information literacy skills fueled by the inquiry process and to facilitate conversations with other educators around the ideals of the Inquire Shared Foundation.

“The Key Commitment of the Inquire Shared Foundation is to ‘build new knowledge by inquiring, thinking critically, identifying problems, and developing strategies for solving new problems.’ It is critical for students to learn these skills to be successful in today’s information-rich world,” said Lester. “Thus, I am excited that this year’s Emerging Leaders are taking on the exploration and creation of materials for this important Shared Foundation.”

AASL member Courtney Lewis will serve as AASL’s member guide to the 2023 Emerging Leaders team working on the Inquire project. The team will kick-off their work on January 27 in a face-to-face workshop during ALA’s LibLearnX event in New Orleans, LA.

“The Shared Foundation of Inquire is at the heart of the work of a school librarian, both in terms of encouraging curiosity as well as teaching research. In every school with a certified librarian, we fulfill the role of inquiry expert,” said Lewis. “School librarians collaborate with learners and other educators to amplify student learning by teaching critical inquiry skills that apply to lives outside of the classroom. The materials this group will produce will offer school librarians a valuable starting point for thinking creatively about the many forms inquiry can take. I can’t wait to meet this talented group in New Orleans and get started!”

The Inquire project is the fourth in a series of Shared Foundations projects completed by Emerging Leaders teams. Earlier projects focused on the Shared Foundations of Include, Explore, and Curate can be found on the AASL Standards web portal at

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.

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