At this point in the subject think about strategies to take you from TL, the keeper and stamper of the books and the quiet space (library) (how many of our colleagues perceive TLs), to become something different. Make a set of notes using your new understandings to support your arguments and conclusions:
Many of the readings regarding leadership list vision as a key quality of leadership. In order to develop strategies for moving from the stereotypical keeper-of-the-books-and-quietness to “something different” that has a leadership hue, it is essential to formulate and articulate a clear vision (Gleeson, 2016) of what that “something else” will look like. For my situation, I know that I am not really looking to take on a formal leadership role – at least not anything that has the word “principal” in the title. My projected to pathway to professional development might include pursuit a Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher status, but not an Assistant or Deputy Principal position. Therefore, my vision of my “something else” lies in the distributed leadership, informal leadership or leadership by expertise vein. My vision for the library is as a place that will be the go-to place for resources across the curriculum and for information on teaching and learning. A central school service station rather than just a place for students to go and borrow some books or listen to a story and be kept busy for an hour while their teachers plan for their “real learning activities”.
Moir, Hattie and Jansen’s (2014) viewpoint that to develop leadership capacity you first need to know what qualities the members of the organisation value as evidencing effective leadership really resonated with me. Looking at the five top “effective leadership qualities” that they found in their study (Moir, Hattie, & Jansen, 2014, p 37), I find a framework for my vision and strategy for change:
- Trust – Build trust in my capabilities by being honest about what I do and do not know and what I can and cannot do. Establish the library and Teacher Librarian as a place and person you can go to for assistance and know that you will receive what you ask for and that it will be based on good practice and solid informational and educational practices.
- Respect – Offer respect to others and demonstrate my expertise as both a teaching practitioner of nearly 20 years experience, who is committed to professional development and as a librarian. Build confidence that I will give accurate, useful information, recommend quality resources and complement classroom programming and address school, state and national curriculum objectives in my teaching.
- Effective communication – Develop effective, transparent and trustworthy communication channels with all members of the school community.
- Lead by example – Be willing to share my practice and collaborate with others to develop their practice.
- Supportive – Reach out to help staff and students on personal and professional levels. Take the initiative to offer suggestions for resources and professional readings and so forth, rather than waiting to be consulted. Be flexible with my time and resources and responsive to the needs of others.
It is encouraging to me that I am already doing many of these things to some extent. Focusing on these as my roadmap to change might help me more clearly envision myself as a leader and will hopefully help me to articulate my vision for the library as a central school service station with clarity.