“Standards for School Libraries”

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)

A division of the American Library Association (ALA)

Learning Standards

AASL’s learning standards offer a vision for teaching and learning to both guide and beckon the school library profession as education leaders. The learning standards shape the library program and serve as a tool for school librarians to use to shape the learning of students in the school.

AASL Learning Standards & Common Core State Standards Crosswalk

The following PDFs include tables that help school librarians learn how the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and the Common Core State Standards align.


Empowering Learners:

Guidelines for School Library Programs

School library programs continue to undergo momentous changes that have heightened the importance of technology and evidence-based learning. The focus has moved from the library as a confined place to one with fluid boundaries that is layered by diverse needs and influenced by an interactive global community. Guiding principles for school library programs must focus on building a flexible learning environment with the goal of producing successful learners skilled in multiple literacies. Defining the future direction of school library programs is the purpose of AASL’s newest set of guidelines.

Empowering Learners advances school library programs to meet the needs of the changing school library environment and is guided by the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and Standards for the 21st-Century Learner in Action. It builds on a strong history of guidelines published to ensure that school library program planners go beyond the basics to provide goals, priorities, criteria, and general principles for establishing effective library programs.

An exemplary school library meets all of the guidelines areas in this broad, general outline. In an effort to expand on specific guidelines, AASL has selected several from Empowering Learners to feature in a series of focused publications:

American Association of School Librarians

Program Guidelines

AASL’s newest set of program guidelines defines the future direction of school library programs. Empowering Learners ensures that school library program planners go beyond the basics to provide goals, priorities, criteria, and general principles for establishing effective school library programs.


AASL’s implementation plan was created to support states, school systems, and individual schools preparing to implement AASL’s learning standards and program guidelines.

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
A division of the American Library Association (ALA)

Information Literacy Defined

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” 1 Information literacy also is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources. Because of the escalating complexity of this environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices–in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives. Information is available through libraries, community resources, special interest organizations, media, and the Internet–and increasingly, information comes to individuals in unfiltered formats, raising questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability. In addition, information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it. The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information pose large challenges for society. The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively.

Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. An information literate individual is able to:

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally
  • Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a Division of the American Library Association (ALA)