Intellectual Freedom is Central to the National School Library Standards

AASL, Education, Information Access, School Libraries

By: Kate Lechtenberg

Intellectual freedom advocates have many reasons to be excited about the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries that will be released at the AASL National Conference November 9-11. School librarians champion access to information and opportunities for all learners, and it’s never been clearer than in this iteration of our professional standards.

Choice, perspective, agency and free expression are key principles of the National School Library Standards. For an intro to the Shared Foundations in the new standards, check out these infographics that outline how learners Inquire, Include, Collaborate, Curate, Explore and Engage while pursuing their freedom to think, create, share and grow in the library.

In the new Knowledge Quest article, New Standards to Dawn at AASL 2017,” chair of the AASL Standards and Guidelines Editorial Board Marcia Mardis includes the full text of the “Common Beliefs” that guided the Editorial Board’s process.  

Below, I’ve color-coded the complete AASL Common Beliefs to highlight the principles of equity, access to information, free expression and individual liberty embedded in these beliefs.



For more information on the upcoming standards, check out “Counting Down to Standards Release!” by Mary Keeling in KQ Express and the archived September 18th #AASLStandards Twitter Chat. Materials to support implementation will be available at

Common Beliefs and images are excerpted from AASL’s National School Library Standards and used with permission. Any reproduction, reposting, or reuse of content requires direct permission from AASL.


Kate LechtenbergKate Lechtenberg is a doctoral student in Language, Literacy, and Culture in the University of Iowa’s College of Education. After working in public schools for fourteen years as a high school English teacher and school librarian, her doctoral research now focuses on text selection, multicultural literature, educational standards, and equity initiatives. Kate teaches a young adult literature course in the College of Education and a school librarian course on print and digital collection management in the School of Library and Information Science. She is also a member of the AASL Standards Implementation Task Force. Find her on Twitter @katelechtenberg.

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