Smith-Cox invited to attend SLJ Leadership Summit

GSLIS student Karen Smith-Cox has been invited to attend the 2012 School Library Journal Leadership Summit in Philadelphia on October 26 and 27. This year’s summit, “Advocacy and the E-volution: Creating Stronger Schools Through Stronger Libraries,” will focus on discussions of Common Core State Standards and the role of libraries in fostering and empowering innovation in schools.

School Library Journal invites approximately 200 leaders in education to attend the annual summit, including school librarians, teachers, administrators, and technology professionals from the United States and Canada.

Smith-Cox, who has been a K-12 teacher and librarian in Lovington, Illinois, for twelve years, was nominated to attend this year’s summit for her role as a state leader in libraries.

“The invitation to the summit came as a surprise to me,” Smith-Cox said. “Today administrators are looking at cutting the budget, and the library is a prime target. For too many years people have seen school librarians as people who just check out books to students. I know this because I have lived it. I hope the summit will give me a chance to talk with other states’ librarians to help them with their programs.”

Smith-Cox started the master’s program at GSLIS in the summer of 2012 as a LEEP student. She has served on the Lovington Public Library board for over fifteen years and has been the Standards Function Representative for the Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) for two years.

Smith-Cox is closely involved with the development and promotion of Illinois Standards Aligned Instruction for Libraries (I-SAIL), a curricular document intended to assist school library information specialists and teachers in collaboratively planning information literacy lessons and encouraging college and career readiness. Adopted by ISLMA as a statewide model, I-SAIL incorporates into its framework the Illinois Common Core Standards as well as the American Association for School Librarians (AASL) Standards for the 21st Century Learner.

“My sole purpose for attending is to talk, promote, and inform other states’ schools about I-SAIL. Becky Robinson (MS ’99), Angie Green and Christy Semande were the driving force of creating I-SAIL and are my heroines for working so hard to write it,” Smith-Cox said. “If a school librarian will use I-SAIL correctly, they can have the documentation they need to prove how important a school librarian is. I believe using I-SAIL will save many school librarians’ jobs.”

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