The teacher librarian must be a strong leader in the learning community. This leadership should be reflecting in all aspects of the school library media program.

person leadingLeadership involves accountability, administration, and advocacy.

Accountability. Whether selecting websites for a science pathfinder or purchasing new equipment, the teacher librarian should always be thinking about accountability. What's the impact of this activity? Is it a good use of time and money? What evidence can be collected regarding the success of this approach or activity?

Administration. The teacher librarian manages all aspects of the library media program including collection development, facilities management, budgeting, staffing, and instruction. Every aspect of administration involves decision making and action. Whether fighting for technology funding or rallying teachers around a reading initiative, the library media specialist must be a leader.

Advocacy. The school library program must reflect the perspectives and philosophies today's information-rich society. The teacher librarian must be an advocate for intellectual freedom, free inquiry, and literacy. These stands should be reflected in the priorities of the program and how money, time, and resources are allocated.

eye means readRead Leadership in Schools by Andrew Churches (Sept. 9, 2009) at the21st Century Fluency Project. Love that quote at the end of the blog posting!

Read This Man Wants to Change Your Job by M. Eisenberg & D.H. Miller. School Library Journal, 2002; 48(9), 46. (Access )
The article provides guidelines for a school librarian to become a core player in school.

Read School Library Media Specialists as Effective School Leaders by N. Everhart. Knowledge Quest, Mar/Apr 2007; 35(4), 54-7. (Access requires login, download PDF document)

Also read Leadership and Library Media by S.W. Zsiray from Knowledge Quest, Nov/Dec. 2003; 32(2), 14-16. (Access requires login, download PDF document).

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Check Your Understanding

info powerInformation Power - The library media specialist who uses the themes of collaboration, leadership, and technology in applying the principles of Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning will help students and others become full and productive members of the learning community - the ultimate goal of the school library media program. (p. xiv)

Preview Information Power textbook online at

eye means readExplore the ideas and concepts presented at (1) Leadership from the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL) and (2) Facilitative Leadership: The Imperative for Change by S. M. Hord from the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL).

Which of the following teacher librarians are demonstrating leadership? Which people need to be more proactive? What suggestions would you provide? How are the three central ideas (collaboration, leadership, technology) of the library media program reflected (or not)?

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Make It Real

teachers at computerDo you view yourself as a leader? Why or why not?

What strengths and weaknesses do you have in the area of leadership? How do you plan to address these weaknesses?

Describe a situation where you took a leadership role. What did you find difficult about this activity? What did you find rewarding? What would you do differently in the future?

eye means readMeet an outstanding school librarian, a leader: Joyce Valenza (Update: J. Valenza recently jumped to a university appointment). View the videoclip (Nov 2010) "What Libarians Make. Or Why Should I Be More than a Librarian?" (7:31 min).

What librarians make. Or Why Should I be More than a Librarian? from Joyce Valenza on Vimeo.


Words of Wisdom

Best time to be a leader? Now!

But it's important and easier to leverage a positive impact during your first months and year-on-the-job. Waiting till you know all the ropes is too risky.

In a few years the perception of you and your job role becomes entrenched . . . and it becomes very difficult to break out into a leadership role, if you have not already finessed yourself into that position. Ten recommendations:

Have a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish
Get your principal on board
Be willing to help
Collaborate and cooperate
Spend time & energy on what counts - people (students and their teachers)
Become a technology mentor for your school (That's the next topic!)
Focus on the positive people

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Read More About It

Hartzell, Gary. Taking the Initiative. School Library Journal, June 2003; 49(6), 39. (Access requires login) . . .
Five proactive strategies for expanding your influence.

Lau, Debra. Got Clout. School Library Journal, May 2002; 48(5), 40. (Access requires login) . . .
Results of survey on the influence and job satisfaction of school librarians - - showing increasing influence of librarians.

Position Statement on the School Library Media Supervisor from American Association of School Librarians

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