Part B: Reflective critical analysis, blog post.
As I have never worked as a Teacher Librarian (TL), the learning journey so far regarding the leadership role of the teacher librarian has been extremely educational, at times overwhelming, and in my son’s words, “awesome”. I have learned many things; however one point in particular that keeps coming back to me is that for TLs to gain credibility and be seen in the role of a leader they need to be effective collaborators and promote themselves and their library as an indispensable resource for the school (Walter & Weisberg, 2011). There are many studies showing that collaboration between classroom teachers and TLs is a key factor for student success and show it is also a proven success for student learning. Teachers who collaborate with TLs develop a more positive view of the role of their TL and exhibit mutual respect, understanding and trust.(Haycock, 2007). In further support of this Lamb ( 2011) points out that when TLs work with or collaborate with teachers to support learning that students learn more and achieve better grades than students in other schools without good libraries. It highlights the importance of a TL working with teachers and students.
Another factor that has been emphasised from my readings is the importance of demonstrating at all times that you and your school library program is central to achieving the schools goals and mission (Walter & Weisberg, 2011). This is particularly relevant in these uncertain times of budget cuts and staff redundancies. Lamb ( 2011) advocates that it is the responsibility of the TL to build a connection with everyone associated with the teaching and learning process. We need to be able to communicate information via emails, electronic newsletters, webcasts, memos, and blog entries to name a few. The audience for these communications includes everyone from students to members of the school community.
A TL needs to be instrumental in supporting educational change (Lamb, 2011). We also need to be able to establish our library collection based on current curriculum needs but be constantly on the lookout for updated materials. I like the thought that the TL should be leading and supporting educational change and at the forefront of this. It is a very exciting role to be in. It is fascinating that content now available in so many types and format (Lamb, 2011) The same piece of writing can be available as a hardcover book, e-book, online book, audiobook or video. Although students may be familiar with technology, they still need assistance in locating and applying this type of information and this is where once again the TLs leadership skills can be invaluable.
An important part of helping staff cope with the constant ongoing educational change is professional development. We, as TLs play an important leadership role in this (Walter & Weisburg, 2011). Transformational leadership is particularly important for TLs as this style of leadership motivates and empowers staffs (Avolio et al ,2009) which is necessary for staff development. As a lifelong learner I have so much more to learn, but to sum up my impressions so far, I particularly like the words of Combes, (2006) when she tells us that the library should be at centre of teaching and learning for the whole school community. That’s where I want to be! Long live the TL!!
Avolio, B.J., Walumbwa, F. O., & Weber, T.J., (2009). Leadership: Current Theories, Research, and Future Directions. Published in Annual Review of Psychology 60, pp. 421-449; doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163621. from http://psych.annualreviews.org
Combes, B. (2006). Challenges for teacher librarianship in the 21st century: Part 3 – Status and role. Paper presented at Libraries linking learning and literacies conference, South Africa, 8-11 August 2006. From http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/challenges_for_teacher_librarianship.html
Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35.
Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends:Linking research & practice to improve learning, 55(4), 27-36.
Walter, V. & Weisberg, H. (2011) Being indispensable: A school librarian’s guide to becoming an invaluable leader. ALA Editions:Chicago.