Canadian School Libraries was formed in 2016. Over the previous decade, there had been ever increasing challenges in sustaining a cohesive school library network across Canada for sharing professional knowledge and research. The dissolution of the Canadian Library Association (CLA), with the associated loss of its online journal, School Libraries in Canada and uncertain status of Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada further exacerbated this situation.
The notion of a new national school library organization clearly engaged the group of leaders who had worked so hard to leverage the gains achieved with the publication of Leading Learning and the success of the bi-annual symposium into research and practice, Treasure Mountain Canada (TMC). Response to an online survey from school library practitioners, leaders and supporters through an online survey indicated overwhelming support for the formation of a new national school library organization.
Formation of this organization was discussed at the Treasure Mountain Canada 2016 symposium, and was informed by the paper, Toward a New National School Library Association in Canada: The Case, Considerations, and Potential Models.
With positive survey results and under the pressures of the tight timelines for the dissolution of the Canadian Library Association and therefore potential loss of a platform for major national school library projects, the Working Group decided to proceed with forming Canadian School Libraries as a new non-profit organization.
Through and extensive consultative process, the working group has:
- Established the vision, mission, guiding principles and purposes and activities for the new organization.
- Established a governance structure best suited to achieving those goals.
- Established a communications structure for informing researchers and practitioners across the country of our activities, and for soliciting feedback.
- Conducted a successful fundraising campaign to cover start-up costs, such as legal consultation, fees for incorporation, and technical infrastructure costs such as web hosting and domain registration fees.
- Engaged legal counsel to take us through the process of incorporation as a non-profit organization and the application for charitable status.
- Successfully negotiated with the Canadian Library Association for the transfer of intellectual property rights to Leading Learning and School Libraries in Canada to the new organization, as well as stewardship of the Angela Thacker Award.
- Created a website for the new organization, as well as a subscription email newsletter, and rebranded existing social media channels to further strengthen channels for communication.
- Created a website for Leading Learning, realizing the vision of the standards as a living document.
- Begun the process of putting the translated version of Leading Learning, L’apprentissage en tête : Principes relatifs à la transition de la bibliothèque scolaire vers le carrefour d’apprentissage au Canada, online.
- Begun the process of establishing a new online journal for school library learning commons research and practice.