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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Teacher Librarians: Leading the charge for change in our schools

In ETL 504, we looked at the Teacher Librarian as Leader. Leader within the school, a curriculum leader,  a management leader, a role model. As I read more and more about the positive influences that a Teacher Librarian could have on a school, the more excited I became.

Part of the toolkit for a Teacher Librarian as Leader is data and Todd's (2007) work on evidence based practice struck a cord with me. "Where is the evidence?" has been my catch cry ever since.

The reading for ETL 504 was fascinating and as part of the subject, I got to interview my school Principal his perceptions of Leadership (Lawson, 2013) (I would highly recommend this approach). This subject gave me an opportunity to spend some time once again reading Daniel Goleman (2002), after coming across his work for the first time 10 years ago at a professional development seminar. But this time I was looking at his work with a Teacher Librarian critical eye. Understanding the type of leaders that you need to work with is important, as it can guide your approach and strategies used when presenting ideas or trying to solve a problem (Goleman, 2002). Being a Teacher Librarian is all about communicating effectively and actively listening. When I did my Professional Placement, I had a wonderful discussion with my supervisor about leadership using some of the key questions that I used in the interview with my Principal.

It is important to acknowledge that being a leader doesn't mean being Head of Library. At the start of this year I asked my manager to clarify my role within the school library. So rather than just being a teacher librarian on 0.4 (2 days) allowance, I became a Teacher Librarian, but with the responsibility of being a Wider Reading Coordinator. Giving me something to focus my efforts on throughout the year. Using Ross Todd's (2007) ideas on evidence based learning, I have data to support that my initiatives are working.

For a teacher librarian as a leader, the starting point is to acknowledge what you are good at and passionate about. The course of study emphasised that teacher librarians should be proactive ‘can-do’ people who aim to make programs great and inspire others to join in.  One of the ideas that I developed and executed as a result of this subject, was creating some business cards for me to use at school (Lawson, 2014) in my role as teacher librarian. I will probably revisit these again at the end of this year and make them a bit more colourful, include the blog address, twitter account, pinterest board and any other Web 2.0 social networking platforms that I use.


Fullan, M. (2004). Leading in a culture of change. Jossey-Bass Publishing.

Fullan, M. (2011). Change leader: Learning to do what matters most [Kindle version]. Jossey-Bass Publishing.Hartzell, Gary. (2000). The Principal's Perceptions of School Libraries and Teacher –Librarians. School Libraries Worldwide 8, no. I (January) 92-110.

Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. E., & McKee, A. (2002). The new leaders: Transforming the art of leadership into the science of results. London: Little, Brown. [Personal copy]

Hartzell, G. (2003). The Power of Audience: Effective Communication with Your Principal. Library Media Connection, 22(2), 20.

Lawson, M. (2013). How Different Leaders impact on School Library [blog] Retrieved from:

Lawson, M. (2014) Branding myself as a Teacher Librarian [blog] Retrieved from

Todd, R. J. (2007). Evidence-based practice and school libraries. In S. Hughes-Hassell & V. H. Harada (Eds.), School reform and the school library media specialist (pp. 57-78). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

Winzenried, A. (2010). Visionary leaders for Information. Wagga Wagga: Centre for information studies. [Personal Copy]

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