Our school library is a dynamic and busy place. As Teacher Librarian, I am responsible for all aspects of library management. A key aspect of this role is developing positive relationships with fellow staff and the student community. Our role is a service role where we exist to both lead and support the school community. To do this adequately, we need to have an attitude of service – to develop positive and supportive relationships with all who cross our threshold. It is also important that our library staff are a strong team, sharing the same vision, working towards the same goals and encouraging and supporting each other (What is TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP?, n.d.). The team needs to develop skills in sharing and communicating (Tapscott, 2012) and in resolving conflict in a healthy way (Aguilar, 2012). The guides for problem solving (Muzio, n.d.) and leading change (Kotter,n.d.) provide steps to follow to ensure progress continues in a constructive and cooperative way.
Teacher Librarians need competencies in the educational aspects, the technological aspects and the contextual aspects of the role (Townsend, 2011). As a relatively new TL, these are all dimensions of the role I am continuing to work on both individually and in consultation with others.
The module 1 task evaluating my leadership style confirmed me as a democratic / participative leader, someone who considers the input of the group members and involves them in the decision-making process. This has certainly been true of the way we have operated in the library my time there. We have incorporated teacher input in a number of areas such as the research skills and topics we have focused on and the areas of the collection they would like to see developed. We have collaborated with the IT Department and school administration in choosing our new Library Management System and new radio frequency tagging system, and we have sought input from students.
The readings that considered aspects of change management have been particularly relevant in developing my understanding of both others, and myself as the TL. We have made some major changes to how the library is run since I assumed the role. Whilst I am the TL in charge, the other staff member is an experienced library technician and a trained teacher so when I was appointed with no experience or training, this could have been a difficult situation. However we have discussed our perceptions of changes we needed to make and have both ‘bought into’ the vision we have created (What is TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP?, n.d.). We have focused on negotiated priorities and have both tried to adopt the ‘navigator’ roles rather than the ‘critic’ roles in managing the changes (Change Management Explained in 1 Minute, n.d.). Learning that we will take a temporary ‘dip’ in efficiency, effectiveness and confidence as we have implemented major change (Cameron & Green,2004) helps us to see beyond the problems and complications we have faced implementing two new systems. Whilst moving back to feeling competent was always my unconscious expectation, reading about the roles in change management actually clarified the reasons for these feelings for me. Working together through these hurdles, utilizing the ‘collective intelligence’ of the library staff and school staff, has magnified the potential for improvement of our service (Davies,2009) and allowed us to see that we all lead by naturally emphasising different aspects, according to our personalities.
Leadership in the school library involves building relationships with the Administration team to negotiate appropriate funding, roles and school involvement. It involves collaborating with the teaching staff to provide the best possible service and support for their students and programs. Finally, it involves create a welcoming and helpful environment for students to work, receive help and relax.
Aguilar, E. (2012). Effective teams: The key to transforming schools? K-12 Education & Learning Innovations with Proven Strategies that Work | Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teacher-teams-transform-schools-elena-aguilar
Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2004). Individual change. Making sense of change management: a complete guide to the models, tools & techniques of organizational change (pp. 12-61). London: Kogan Page.
Change Management Explored in 1 Minute. Retrieved from:https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/gmoDpj1jtyA?rel=0
Davies, B. (2009). The Essentials of School Leadership (2nd edit). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Davies, B., Ellison, L., and Bowring-Carr, C. (2005). School Leadership in the 21st Century. Oxon, Great Britain: Routledge Falmer.
Kotter, J. (n.d.). The 8-step process for leading change. Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved from http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps/changesteps
Muzio, E. (n.d.) 7 Step Problem Solving. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/embed/rIfoIkJzlxU
Ridden, P. & DeNobile, J. (2012). Keys to School Leadership. Camberwell, Australia: ACER Press.
Tapscott, D. (2012). Four Principles for the Open World. Retrieved from: http://embed.ted.com/talks/don_tapscott_four_principles_for_the_open_world_1.html
Townsend, T. (2011). School Leadership in the twenty-first century: Different approaches to common problems? , School Leadership & Management, 31(2), 93-103.
What is TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP? (n.d.). Retrieved from:https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/60O2OH7mHys?rel=0