Association of Independent School Librarians

In contrast to the larger AISL annual conference, the Summer Institute is an opportunity for AISL members to learn about and reflect upon a single topic over a two-day period, during which the topic is the focus of a series of talks, breakout working sessions and group discussions.  Speakers and discussion leaders may include national leaders, members of AISL, librarians from the community at large, and/or subject experts.

Attendees leave the Summer Institute with a clear overview of the topic, an understanding of the key elements and trends associated with the topic, a better understanding of how to implement initiatives, programs or policies into place in their own library and school, as well as the beginning of an outline, plan or policy.

The Summer Institute concept was proposed by Linda Mercer and an advisory group of AISL colleagues in 2011.  The inaugural Summer Institute was held in St. Louis, MO in June 2013. 

June 2017: Book Day (New York, NY)

The 2017 Summer Institute, which will be hosted by the Horace Mann School in the Bronx, New York, will look at practices for setting up an “all-school read” in your community. The dates for the conference are Tuesday, June 27-Thursday, June 29. Presenters from around North America who offer an all-school read will share steps to setting up a program; the problems and pitfalls of planning; scheduling the day; guest speakers and how to contact them; faculty and student buy-in, and other topics that come up over the two days of conference workshops.

 Caroline Bartels, Head Librarian at Horace Mann’s MD/UD Katz Library and Director of Student Activities, who has organized her school’s annual UD Book Day for the past 20 years of its 23 years, will share practices in her own school.

 Caroline is looking for others who run a similar program in Lower and Middle divisions so that all age-groups are covered. If you are interested in joining her on a panel to discuss Upper Division programming for this event, or if you would like to lead the Lower and Middle panels, please email

 Full information for this year’s Summer Institute will be posted on February 1, 2017, and registration will follow.  Caroline will create a Haiku page linked to this AISL website.   Stay tuned!

June 2016: Design Thinking @ Your Library   (Troy, NY)

Thirty five attendees came from  far and wide, from Hawaii to Maine, California to Connecticut, and countless states in between with a single goal: to learn the process of Design Thinking and to apply it to contemporary  library challenges. Conference keynote Steven Bell notes that, “as librarian-educators continue their efforts to integrate the library into the teaching and learning process they will encounter change with technology, demographic change, user expectations and administrative oversight. Design is at its essence about change, and creating products, services and spaces that provide elegant solutions to big problems.” Attendees learned how to implement design thinking and tackled a variety of real life challenges: how to implement a library Maker Space, how to design a flexible space shared by students in grades K-12, and how to use the design thinking process to assist students in research topic selection, just to name a few. They left the summer institute invigorated, ready to put their ideas into play in their own libraries. 

For more information, visit

June 2015:  Collaboration with Teachers: Librarians Academy    (La Jolla, CA)

Hosted by librarian Sarah Lucy at The Bishop’s School, this “academy” gave participants a taste of the scholarly life and intellectual enrichment across disciplines, including Shakespeare, World War I, Climate Change, and the Global Economy, among others.  It also facilitated the creation of lesson plans, tutorials or LibGuides to enhance the librarian’s relationship with both teacher and subject, based on new knowledge gained from the range of sessions.

Institute Leader:  All sessions were presented by faculty of The Bishop’s School.

For more information, visit 

June 2014:  At the Center of it All: Scaffolding Advanced Information Literacies for K-12 Students in School Libraries                  (St. Louis, MO)

Participants had the opportunity to learn, create, test and discuss various aspects of the broad topic of information literacy, facilitated by Hagerman, who has a deep understanding of the topic as well as something new to say.

Institute Leader:  Michelle Schira Hagerman, a digital literacies researcher whose LINKS instructional framework [Learning to Integrate InterNet Knowledge Strategically] has attracted attention from teachers and app developers as a way to scaffold online reading and writing processes with multiple, multi-modal Internet texts.

For more information, visit

June 2013:  Measuring Your Impact: Using Evaluation for Library Advocacy    (St. Louis, MO)

The first AISL Summer Institute offered members the opportunity to learn about and engage with methods, ideas and theories for determining, evaluating and quantifiably demonstrating the value of library programs within independent school settings.

Institute Leader:  Betsy Kelly, Assessment & Evaluation Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, MidContinental Region, and Associate Director for Health Information Resources at the Washington University School of Medicine’s Bernard Becker Medical Library.

For more information, please visit


Association of Independent School Librarians

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