Leadership is being in control, but not of everything. Leadership is happening everywhere. There are leadership opportunities in every school at every level, not just principals and heads of department. Every teacher has a chance to demonstrate leadership.
When I began studying this subject, I had done a lot of reading about the role of the teacher librarian. I hadn’t done a lot of reading about the leadership role of the teacher librarian. In the beginning, the leader in a school was a principal or deputy or a co-ordinator. As I explored the leadership role of the teacher librarian, many things began to make sense for me in regard to the teacher librarian in my own school. It is vital that the role of the teacher librarian is communicated clearly and supported proactively by not only the principal and classroom teachers, but also the students and the parent community.
As I read about the different styles of leadership, I tried to match them up to leaders I knew and leadership styles I had seen in action. It was hard for me to imagine that one leadership style could suit one person, especially when opportunities to demonstrate leadership are so diverse. I was under the impression that if your leadership style was transactional or situational or transformational, you used that leadership style throughout your role as a leader. It made more sense to me to incorporate a variety of elements from each leadership style to develop a personal approach to leadership. As it turns out, you can. There are no leadership rules set in stone. They are all open to interpretation. Leadership in schools is a partnership of leadership styles and a partnership of leaders.
Leadership is being in control, but not of everything….
Leadership can be demonstrated in many different ways; the classroom teacher sharing expertise, skills and talents during a staff meeting and encouraging other staff to take those skills back to their own classroom to use. A teacher librarian leads by demonstrating how to use the Smartboard to plan an interactive literacy lesson for Grade 1.
The role of the teacher librarian is one of leadership through instruction, collaboration and participation. As education, information and technology are evolving, it is exciting to think that many 21st century learning skills will be taught in the library and then extended out across the curriculum.
DiScala and Subramaniam
(2011) discuss leadership
as being “integral to developing a successful 21st century school library
media program.” It is the role of the
teacher librarian to lead the way among the staff in a school. It involves a willingness to serve as a
teacher and as a learner who listens to and acts upon good ideas from peers,
teachers and students. It is the role of
the teacher librarian to lead by example, modeling best practice and the way
toward the achievement of goals and objectives and enabling others to act.
It is vital that teacher librarians are effective communicators and collaborators as they lead within their field of expertise. It is vital that teacher librarians advocate for collaborative partnerships and facilitate opportunities to collaborate with classroom teachers to develop 21st century learning. As the Australian Curriculum is implemented nationally, the importance of the role of the teacher librarian will increase as ICT skills and literacy skills are developed across the curriculum.
Lamb and Johnson
(2004-2010) write about teacher
librarians being agents for change.
Being a teacher librarian is not just about the books anymore. Many teacher librarians have chosen to become
leaders of change as well as adapt to the changes. As a leader, and an agent for change, the
teacher librarian has more control of their library program, its organisation
and its delivery. With knowledge of
current changes and the vision of the changes that may lie ahead, a teacher
librarian can plan and prepare for the future.
I have learned that as a leader in the achievement of a shared vision, the role of the teacher librarian needs to be one of sharing, collaboration and empowerment. Sharing of information through collaboration empowers those involved. The roles of teacher and learner become fluid as the sharing of skills and knowledge takes place
(Tapscott, 2012). The sharing of information creates a powerful
base from which informed decisions can be made regarding planning, programming
and teaching. Empowerment and ownership
of a shared vision creates a positive force encouraging staff and students to
embrace the vision.
I am looking forward to the opportunity of sharing my skills, ideas and vision of a school library in the future.
DiScala, J.and Subramaniam, M. (2011). Evidence-Based Practice: A practice towards leadership credibility among school librarians. School Libraries Worldwide, 17(2), 59-70.
Lamb, A. and Johnson, L. (2004-2010). Advocacy: Change: Innovative Practices and Evolving Roles. Retrieved May 12, 2013, from The School Library Media Specialist: http://eduscapes.com/sms/advocacy/change.html
Martin, A. M. (2012). Seven Steps to an Award Winning School Library Program. Oxford, Great Britain: ABC-CLIO.
McKenzie, J. (2010, February). teacher Librarians: leading, connecting and innovating. Scan, 29(1), 6-9.
Tapscott, D. (2012, June 10-14). Four Principles for the Open World. Edinburgh, Scotland. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201330_W_D/page/2179fa2f-bbfd-4f13-803d-da9d7fd8c83e