International engagement: the SLAV / IASL partner association program

By Susan La Marca

Susan La Marca, Executive Officer of SLAV, discusses its recent partnership with the International Association of School Librarianship — and how we can learn from the international school library community.

School librarianship is different from country to country. We may share many similar aims and roles, but there are also many differences in our profession around the world. In an age where communication is global, it is important for school librarians to recognise these differences, to learn from each other, and to celebrate what unites us.

As school librarians, we are fortunate to have the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL). IASL is an active group that supports a conference every year in a different part of the world, and a range of special interest groups and projects. Through IASL, we can learn new ways of doing things, and discover new ideas or approaches that we may never have considered.

The School Library Association of Victoria ( recently joined IASL as a partner member association. For a very reasonable fee this commits SLAV to three years of membership as a partner association and entitles SLAV members to a range of benefits. You can find information detailing the arrangements for this level of membership on their website.

Though it is not the same as being a personal member — SLAV members cannot vote for instance — there are a range of valuable benefits. SLAV’s management committee chose to join up in this way as it was felt that access to the members-only area of the IASL website, the IASL Newsletter, and the research journal School Libraries Worldwide affords professional learning opportunities that are well worth investing in for our members.

By joining as an association, SLAV members, who might otherwise not consider joining the international body, have access to the community of school librarianship beyond their own state and country. Understanding school librarianship in other countries, making connections, and learning about the school libraries in other parts of the world are benefits we hope SLAV members will embrace as opportunities to extend their own professional understanding.

As well as this, SLAV aims to be a supportive member of the broader community and, in joining IASL as a partner member association, our state association is in some small way supporting the excellent work of IASL to further school librarianship on the global stage. This includes advocacy in a range of areas, and liaison with other international groups such as the International Federation of Library Associations.

On 17 March this year, SLAV’s council came together for a meeting at which the welcome letter to the association from Katy Manck, the US-based IASL president, was shared. Cake, with appropriate SLAV and IASL logos, was also shared.

SLAV looks forward to a fruitful partnership with IASL and encourages other associations around the world to consider this membership as a way of extending their professional and collegiate connections beyond their own borders.

Laptop open with the SCIS Facebook Page on screen
Susan La Marca

Susan La Marca

Executive Officer

School Library Association of Victoria