September 13

Reflective Portfolio


Statement of personal philosophy


A competent and effective teacher librarian (TL) is passionate about working with both students and staff to support learning and teaching. The TL is innovative, supports and embeds information literacy across pedagogical programs and develops a collection that supports learners in their academic and leisure reading endeavours. A TL supports students in becoming ethical digital citizens and shares the school’s vision in creating 21st digital citizens, working collaboratively with teachers to inform best practices in the information services landscape. An effective teacher librarian is flexible, open, supportive and knowledgeable and is a leader who supports the implementation of emerging technologies, enriches classroom practice and engages in collaborative learning with their peers.



Leadership has been a key part of so many subjects we have studied, starting at the very beginning with ETL401. I blogged about the role of the TL as leader and why it was so important. I discussed how a leadership role was so necessary, but to be perfectly honest, I had no idea how to be a leader in the position I held.

But then ETL504 allowed me to gain a greater understanding of the many types of leadership and I gained great insight into my understanding of organisational leadership structures. I started identifying the different types of leaders in my school and shared this in my blog. I learned about change management and why it is so important to understand how to do it well. Bush and Glover (2014) discuss leadership, vision and mission setting and how to effectively manage change in an organisation, in a way that I could identify where my school was doing it well, and not so well. I reflected further on these leadership styles in my blogs and my final assessment and I realised the value I had gained from these tasks, because they all provided a springboard into advocacy.

It was the challenge of creating a concept map of leadership that was a lightbulb moment for me. I initially felt so completely out of my depth, and struggled to get started. I asked my principal for a meeting because I wanted to interview him about his ideations of leadership. He asked me to email my questions to him prior to our meeting so that he could ‘prepare adequately’. It dawned on me that he was taking me seriously, and I saw the incredible merit and worth to this subject. It was four weeks later at a leadership conference in our school for our senior students, where my principal was a guest speaker, that I saw my questions up on the big screen. My principal was using my work! Whilst I thought 504 and leadership itself was being presented in an ‘ideal’ world, it actually took on real meaning because I realised I was being heard.

My professional placement for ETL507 was an opportunity to see leadership in practice in an information agency different to my own. It was a great example of seeing leadership in action in an academic library. There were transformational, instructional and servant leaders who all shared the same goals in collaboration with one another; supporting teaching and learning, embedding information literacy and ethical digital citizenship and delivering a service that supports teaching and learning. This was achieved through meaningful collaboration that ultimately increases learner outcomes (Jones & Harris, 2014).

To be an effective leader, I know I still have a long way to go. Gleeson (2016) maintains that we must articulate a clear vision for our library and our services, and this has helped me immensely in seeing where I can go to from here. But if I am to develop in my leadership capacity, it is imperative that I understand my school’s values implicitly and build my vision from there (Moir et al., 2014).

Image 1 Bourne, H. (2021) Leading from the middle. Townsville

Digital Literacy

The use of information and communications technology (ICT) in 21st century education is largely influenced by the rapid transformation of the digital landscape and globalization. As such, our schools have had to look at the impacts of such change and ensure that our students are adequately equipped with the highest level of literacy in digital skills and information literacy (IL), if they are to access the digital landscape as competent and confident users (Lunny, 2014). As teacher librarians, I feel that we are in such a great position to embrace and foster innovative practices that serve the entire learning community.

We were introduced to the Inquiry learning models such as Guided Inquiry Design (Caspari, Kuhlthau and Maniotes, 2019) in ETL401 and it was so valuable to learn about a model that would allow for students to develop key digital literacy skills and also experience authentic learning. This gave me so much to consider and how I could be instrumental in fostering collegial relationships and work collaboratively with staff in implementing learning models that embraced ICT skills. I shared my excitement about this in one of my very first reflections for my Masters and it was a springboard for discussion that I had with fellow colleagues. Since then, I have been incredibly fortunate to gain the trust of my colleagues and work with them in developing Guided Inquiry Tasks and demonstrating how effectively we can embed ICT skills into so many aspects of the curriculum.

It wasn’t until I commenced INF533 that the role of responsibility I held in being a competent user of IL came to the fore. I felt incredibly overwhelmed and out of my depth and shared this when I reflected honestly about my own inabilities and insecurities.  But I couldn’t just bury my head in the sand. If I was going to remain relevant as a TL, I knew I had to work on my own skill set whilst also embedding into our work programs the skills set out in the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum, (ACARA, 2018).

I chose for my second assessment in INF533 to develop a digital narrative using Microsoft Sway, with the inclusion of Microsoft Forms, Powtoon and Vimeo. I had never used any of these digital tools previously, and I was apprehensive. It was then that I acknowledged that this is quite possibly how teachers feel when faced with using digital tools that are foreign to them. For some educators, there can be some reluctance and intimidation when implementing digital literature into the curriculum. Some teachers have actually shared with me the pressure they sometimes feel when mastering digital skills, and this gave me the impetus to develop my own skill set and share this with others. I followed Nokelainen’s (2006) key criteria when evaluating a digital resource, such as learner control, flexibility, feedback and pedagogical implications for the user, so that I was creating a resource that would incorporate a range of ICT skills and also engage my students in the learning process. I wanted to develop students’ digital skills and provide a valuable exemplar for colleagues that would reassure their competency as users of digital tools.

I was able to develop a digital narrative that is now used in Unit 2 of our Senior English curriculum, and used this as a teaching tool within the English faculty. The multimodal resource allows students to experience linearity, structure and digital features that enhances the learning experience of students, rather than just be the focus of learning (McKnight et al., 2016).

Go to this Sway

From here, I was able to meet with the Modern Languages faculty (the other curriculum area I teach in) and we worked collaboratively to develop an internal assessment that required students to create a digital narrative in Microsoft Sway. I discussed the development of this task on my blog and noted in particular the time it took, but the added value of teaching about copyright (images, for example) it facilitated. I am cognisant of the increasingly demanding workload of teachers, and I shared my thoughts on how I could possibly alleviate some of this, by sharing some innovative practices I have developed, so that I can share, instruct and collaborate effectively and assist in embedding important ICT skills across the curriculum. It was this synergy within our teaching faculty that proved to be so valuable and helped to promote both pedagogical methodology, digital tools and skills and enhance teaching across the curriculum (Lamb, 2001; Hall, 2011).

The development of my own digital literacy skills has facilitated not only my own personal growth, but has allowed me to both self-advocate and share these skills with both staff and students. With so many resources now becoming increasingly available in digital formats, it has become clear that our students need to possess the skills to access these resources, critically evaluate them and be creators of digital texts too.  Successful inquiry learning projects that have been well-documented cite the significant use of ICT and digital literacy skills at the core of the learning (McGuiness, 2013; Sheerman, 2011), and this has informed my practice as a TL and the implementation of digital literacy skills across the curriculum. By working with classroom teachers, I am able to offer a service that assists in establishing learning objectives and goals, designing assessment and implementing assessment strategies (AASL, 2009).

My understanding of Information Literacy has also enabled me to assist students with accessing research databases, developing their critical thinking and evaluative skills and developing effective courses in academic integrity. It has taken a couple of years (since I started my Masters) to get some traction with staff and develop trusting relationships that allow my colleagues to see the value of allowing me to be a more integral part of the teaching and learning continuum in our school. I know that to remain relevant, I must embrace the ever-changing nature of the landscape in which we reside and be a lifelong learner and an advocate for the skills I possess and what I can offer to our school community.


My love of literature stems from a childhood of being surrounded by beautiful books and a family of avid readers. This is one of the reasons why I became an English teacher. With a change in the direction of my career, becoming a Teacher Librarian is quite simply the best job in our school. When I transitioned into the library, it became apparent to me that I needed to understand and respond to the needs of my users, and promote literacy and a love of reading in a way that was meaningful and effective. Essentially, I needed to ensure that we housed a balanced collection that was relevant and catered to the needs of students, whilst also aligning with our school’s academic vision and values (Johnson, 2018).

The coursework of ETL503 developed my understanding of how to evaluate our collection, the selection criteria used in collection development and the structured policy frameworks that should be in place in order to fulfil the library’s duty to its learners and learning community. This was an area that I needed to improve upon, because without having key documents in place, I couldn’t advocate for a library and its collection if it wasn’t grounded by a clear mission and vision statement of why the collection exists (ALIA & VCTL, 2017). It was through ETL503 that I gained a greater insight into why a collection development policy is necessary and should stipulate the principles and goals of the library collection and uphold and understand the responsibilities of the International Federation of Library Associations/UNESCO School Library Manifesto and the Australian School Library Bill of Rights (ALIA, 2007 & IFLA, 2015).

After evaluating a collection development policy for an assessment, I used this knowledge and skills I had acquired and developed one for my own school library.

Image 2 Bourne, H. (2021) Collection Development Policy. [photograph]. Townsville.

After the completion of ETL503, I was able to reflect on the importance of having a collection that is aligned to the curriculum and it was essential that I understood the nature of our users and their needs both academically and recreationally (Oberg and Schultz-Jones, 2015). Newsum (2016) shared the importance of curriculum mapping to assist with evaluating the collection, and how this process informs the curriculum collection and if it is serving its users adequately (Johnson, 2018). I shared in my blog how I asked my principal to be part of curriculum committee in our school, and how he believed it wasn’t necessary. Fast forward 16 months, and I have finally been accepted to be a part of this important team, after relentless self-advocacy and stressing the importance of having a bird’s eye view of the curriculum to inform our collection practices (AASL, 2009), whilst also allowing me to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our collection.

ETL402 demonstrated the value of implementing quality literature across the curriculum. We learnt how to promote resources by demonstrating their use across a range of curriculum areas and how literature can be used to promote interest and make learning more meaningful (Bourne, 2020). Literary Learning provides an excellent opportunity for students to engage with literature across the curriculum in a way that harnesses engagement and motivation (Cornet, 2014; Bourne, 2020). It also allows students to embrace learning about themselves, others and the world around them. Using my knowledge gained from this subject, I was able to start working with different faculties and shared my thoughts on this in my blog.

The quintessential role of the TL is to develop a collection that fosters students’ love of reading and promote good reading habits in students (Dominguez et al., 2016) and is one that I advocate for tirelessly. To understand the recreational reading needs of our users, I survey our students to gauge their interests. I created a Form in Microsoft Teams and began with our Year 8 cohort who take part in a timetabled reading lesson fortnightly. (See

This gave me some insight and qualitative data that would enable me to assist students in finding genres, authors and books that I believed they might enjoy. This was such a beneficial exercise because I was also able to evaluate our collection and improve our fiction collection with books that students may be interested in. I also developed an online form on our school website where students can request books. (See

Image 3 Bourne, H. (2021) Request a book or resources. [photograph]. Townsville.

Promoting reading for pleasure in my school has developed from strength to strength over the last two years. I started an Instagram page to promote recent additions to our collection, with a small blurb about the book, including the age-intended audience. After seeking my principal’s permission to do so, the response has been incredible! Bogan (2020) maintains that establishing a social media presence can prove to be incredibly appealing and influential, and works to connect with students in the platforms they engage with, whilst also advocating for literature.

Instagram screenshot

Image 5 Bourne, H. (2021) Instagram – Library TGS. [photograph]. Townsville.

I am well-placed within the school to advocate how literature can positively impact the lives of our students, both academically and recreationally, through physical and digital resources and Literary Learning. As a middle leader within the school, I have the opportunity to develop and promote a school-wide approach to reading initiatives, but this has to be a consistent approach – advocacy must be at the heart of everything I do.

One area that I feel I need to develop further in our collection is audio and digital books.  Whilst they are an expensive addition, providing students with a range of formats to engage in literature is key to establishing even the most reluctant of readers to read for pleasure.

I know that my role must ensure that my collection is relevant, supports leisure reading, includes a variety a literature in a range of formats and supports leisure reading and curriculum initiatives in the school.


I will be perfectly honest; I didn’t know very much when I commenced my Masters. I shared in my very first blog post of how I was practically gifted the role of TL when my predecessor retired. She told me ‘I would be amazing’, but I didn’t know anything about being a librarian. We had term four to handover and I was left feeling very anxious about how I was going to be a TL, solo. I commenced my Masters the next year, fresh into a new position and working full-time for the first time since having children.
I am so grateful for this course because it has taught me so much more than I ever expected to learn, and redefined my understanding of the role of a teacher librarian. It was vastly different to the one that I had observed in my own school (who respectfully), was incredibly shy and didn’t promote the wonderful services and resources we have on offer. I too am shy, but the further I continued throughout my course, the hungrier I became to be the best, most effective teacher librarian that I could be.

The standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians are an excellent guide to measure my own practice, identify my strengths and weaknesses and give me an insight into how I can improve my future practice. My Masters has shown me the incredible value TLs provide to the school community and the importance of collaboration with both my peers and extended networks, and this is something I intend to remain connected with as I consider my future practice.

We live in a complex society that is grounded in a technological and digital landscape that has heavily influenced education. We must now equip our students with the 21st century skills necessary to access this landscape with competence and confidence. My role is to ensure that students and staff have access to the skills necessary to facilitate the requirements of the General capabilities of the National Curriculum. My position is multifaceted and I have learned that I am responsible for improving the learning outcomes of our students through provision of quality literature, in a range of formats, that support teaching and learning.

I am a little reluctant to actually finish my Masters, as I don’t want to ‘let go’ of the learning. What I realise I must do is stay connected through networking with other teacher librarians, and continue to collaborate with my teaching peers to develop their own skills and support them in incorporating key constructivist pedagogies such as literary learning and inquiry-based learning. The diagram below identifies my strengths as a TL, and has allowed me to see the areas that I must improve upon, such as Evaluation (2.4) (ASLA & ALIA, 2004). After completing INF477, I see the great value in using evidence to inform my programs and services, and will dedicate some much needed time into developing some investigation of our services that will form a good starting point for evidence-based practice.

I will never stop learning and will commit to further professional development, networking, collegiality and upskilling. This Masters has provided a solid foundation for me to put theory into practice and I am incredibly grateful for the wonderful learning experience this has provided me.

Image 6 Bourne, H. (2021) My practice as aligned with ASLA & ALIA standards. [photograph]. Townsville.


American Association of School Librarians (AASL). (2009). Empowering learners: Guidelines for school library programs. Chicago. ALA.

Anglican College. Scan, 30(2), 24-33.

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2018). Senior secondary curriculum. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

Australian Library and Information Association School & Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians. (2017). A manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian school library resource centers. [Template].

Bogan, K. (2020). Tiktok and libraries: A powerful partnership. SCIS Connections. (115).

Burkus, D. (2010, April 1). Servant leadership theory. David Burkus., 2013

Bush, T., & Glover, D. (2014). School leadership models: What do we know? School Leadership and Management, 34(5), 553-571.

Caspari, A., Kuhlthau, C., & Maniotes, L. (2019). GID – Guided inquiry design.

Chadwick, B. (2016, August). Curriculum-engaged school libraries and teacher librarians value curriculum-alignment of resources [Paper presentation]. International Association of School Librarianship Annual Conference Proceedings, Tokyo, Japan.

Cornett, C. (2014). Integrating the literary arts throughout the curriculum. Creating meaning through literature and the arts: Arts integration for classroom teachers (5th ed.). (pp. 144-193). Prentice Hall.

Dominguez, N., Garcia, I., & Martino, J. (2016). The school librarian as motivational agent and strategist for reading appreciation. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 48(3).

Gleeson, B. (2016, November 9). 10 unique perspectives on what makes a great leader.

Gordon, C. A. (2011). Lost in cyberspace?: Tracking the future of reading. School Library Monthly, 27(8), 50-54.

Hall, T. (2011). Digital renaissance: The creative potential of narrative technology in education. Creative Education, 3(1), 96-100.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (2015). IFLA school library guidelines.

Johnston, M. P. (2015). Distributed leadership theory for investigating teacher librarian leadership. School Libraries Worldwide, 21(2). DOI:10.14265.21.2.003

Johnson, P.  (2018). Fundamentals of collection development and management (4th ed.). ALA Editions.

Jones, M., & Harris, A. (2014). Principals leading successful organisational change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 27(3), 473-485.

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(3), 12-17.

Lunny, J. (2014, July 28).  Imagine the possibilities [Video]. YouTube.

McGuinness, S. (2013). Riding the research wave in the Illawarra. Scan, 32(February), 14-20.

McKnight, K., O’Malley, K., Ruzic, R., Horsley, M., Franey, J., & Bassett, K. (2016). Teaching in a digital age: How educators use technology to improve student learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 48(3), 194-211.

Moir, S., Hattie, J. & Jansen, C. (2014). Teacher perspectives of ‘effective’ leadership in schools. Australian Educational Leader, 36(4), 36-40.

Newsum, J.M. (2016). School collection development and resource management in digitally rich environments: An initial literature review. School Libraries Worldwide, 22(1), 97-109.

Nokelainen, P. (2006). An empirical assessment of pedagogical usability criteria for digital learning material with elementary school students. Educational Technology & Society, 9(2), 178 – 197.

Oberg, D., & Schultz-Jones, B. (eds). (2015). IFLA School Library Guidelines, (2nd ed.). IFLA

Sheerman, A. (2011). Accepting the challenge: Evidence based practice at Broughton

May 26

Assessment 2 Reflection

Reflective Practice

The impact of key issues of educational change is bigger than I first realised. Our national agenda aligns with the global agenda, and as UNESCO stipulates, education globally should empower people with knowledge, skills and values to live in dignity and contribute to their society (UNESCO, 2019). I think as a middle leader in my school, I am in such an important position to demonstrate what role I can play in teaching and learning to support 21st century learning and skills. However, up until I commenced ETL504, the idea of this intimidated me.

As we learned about leadership, I found myself identifying and assigning different leaders in my school with a leadership style, based on their attributes and traits. My principal, for example, is the epitome of a transformational leader. He has established a culture of respect and trust and he empowers and inspires us all through his vision of the school. I actually interviewed him about what kind of leader he thought he was, and what kind of leader he wanted me to be. This is the first time I felt brave enough to approach my principal about his expectations of my role in the school. He told me he is very happy I have created a ‘warm and happy space’ in the library, but I want to do more than that, and I want to show him how.

I have felt very uncomfortable since commencing my masters about how teacher librarians must advocate for the role they play in a school. But after my conversation with my principal, I feel like a fool for ever doubting it. Of course we must, because we have so much to offer, and now I must advocate my role with my principal and other leaders in the school so I can show them the value I can add to our school’s change agenda, because it’s not just about creating a ‘warm and happy space’! With collaboration, curriculum knowledge and afforded opportunities, I can improve and innovate pedagogical practices (Lipscombe et al., 2020).

I know that to be an effective and collaborative teacher librarian, I must lead from the middle. If I can motivate and empower staff, and do this through the already solid relationships I have, I have the capacity to lead all stakeholders. My perception of my own role has changed immensely. I never realised that I could potentially motivate and empower staff, but Ingram (2019) maintains that by developing strong relationships with staff, and by being an open and strong communicator, I actually have the potential to engage not only students and teachers, but our administration team and our board of trustees, in achieving the vision of the school (Bush & Glover, 2014).

In module 3 we learned about how by leading from the middle, I can help mitigate stress for our teachers, and I’ve realised how powerful this can really be, and I shared this in my blog in response to Rita Reinsel Soulen’s article. I believe I have already demonstrated instructional leadership traits, and I referred to this in the discussion forum in module 6, when I identified my AITSL professional learning goals. I do work to improve teaching practices and develop skills and knowledge (Smith, 2016), and I know that I need to continue to develop and further my own skill set to consistently improve and enhance student learning. With my principal’s support, I know I can work with the leadership team to use their ‘bird’s eye view’ of the school and implement my knowledge of digital technologies and information to inform the ongoing development of the school’s vision and strategic plan, and successfully implement successful change.

As well as instructional, I feel I will always be a servant leader, because it resonates with me on such a personal level. It is all about building interpersonal relationships, modelling best practice, mentoring other teachers who lack skill set and supporting students and teachers in their learning endeavours through meaningful and effective collaboration (Riveros et al., 2013; Burkus, 2010). Two years ago, I would have shied away from this kind of leadership opportunity, and now, it’s something that fills me with excitement and purpose, because I now see the benefit and impact I can have on all stakeholders, and how I can influence the change process by creating and maintaining a positive learning environment.


Burkus, D. (2010, April 1). Servant leadership theory. David Burkus., 2013

Bush, T., & Glover, D. (2014). School leadership models: What do we know? School Leadership & Management, 34(5), 553-571.

Ingram, D. (2019, February 4). Transformational leadership vs transactional leadership definition. Hearst Newspapers: Small Business.

Lipscombe, K. Grice, C. Tindall-Ford, S., & DeNobile, J. (2020). Middle leading in Australian schools: professional standards, positions, and professional development. School Leadership & Management 40 (5) pp.406-424. DOI: 10.1080/13632434.2020.1731685

Riveros, A., Newton, P., & da Costa, J. (2013).  From teachers to teacher leaders: A case study. International Journal of Teacher Leadership, 4(1).

Smith, B. (2016). The role of leadership style in creating a great school. SELU Research Review Journal, 1(1), 65-78.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. (2019). Leading SDG4 – Education 2030.,for%20sustainable%20development%20and%20peace.&text=Ambitions%20for%20education%20are%20essentially,opportunities%20for%20all%E2%80%9D%20by%202030

April 11

Leading change – conflict resolution

After completing the conflict resolution questionnaire, it is was interesting to see what kind of conflict management style I have.

I absolutely dread conflict. It’s the stuff that gives me nightmares and exacerbates my anxiety ten-fold. My results suggest that my strengths lie in compromising and collaboration (13 and 15 respectively), and I whole-heartedly agree with this. My lowest score was an 8 for ‘avoiding’, and this is absolutely true.

My approach to managing conflict, historically, has been to gain advice and support from colleagues who may be removed from the situation. I find being able to talk about it, share my ideas and concerns out loud, has helped me immensely. I find as I get older that I am getting better at dealing with conflict.

I had a situation in the library last year, whereby I inadvertently (and unintentionally) offended somebody, and it created terrible conflict. As our library is a shared space with other colleagues outside of the library staff, an innocent email sent to all staff was received well by everyone except one staff member. This staff member sent a rather upsetting retort to all recipients in the original email, and it was targeted at me. I felt that I had to approach this staff member face-to-face to apologise and explain that my email was not interpreted in the way I had hoped.

After much deliberation and apprehension, I went to her office to offer an explanation and apology. Instead of a calm and meaningful conversation/discussion, my colleague abused me, yelled at me, pointed her finger at me, and I left her office stunned and incredibly upset. It actually reduced me to tears. I lost sleep over this one. I have often thought about how I could have addressed this situation better. According to Plocharczyk (2013), the earlier the conflict is dealt with, the greater the chances that the conflict will be resolved. When I received her response, I realised how my intention had been misinterpreted, and I immediately wanted to resolve it, so I approached her within the hour of her email being sent. But it didn’t go down as well as I had hoped (not at all!). The next few days were awful, in fact, the next few months were icy and uncomfortable. I did try to remain calm and treated her with respect, but it took months for the situation to be resolved.

In hindsight, I probably should never have sent the email, but I manage the library space and I am responsible for the smooth and respectful co-sharing of this space. Perhaps if I had spoken to each staff member individually, this would have been far more effective. I need to develop greater confidence in addressing issues and finding the courage to have those difficult conversations.


Plocharczyk, L. (2013). Managing conflict and incivility in academic libraries. In K.  Blessinger  & P.  Hrycaj (Eds.). Workplace culture in academic libraries (pp. 307-319). Elsevier.

March 28

Module 3 – How can we help mitigate stress in the workplace?

Schools are complex institutions. In the time that I have been a classroom teacher (20 years!), I have witnessed incredible change to our role as educators, and in schools themselves. I found it really interesting listening to Jennie Bales the other night in one of our online meetings regarding our upcoming  assessment. We have to consider the drivers of change and the future educational agenda. We have to consider 21st century integrated learning and the skills that our students need for 21st century education and how we develop 21st century globally competent individuals. I know all of this…but then Jennie said that we’re already a quarter of the way into this 21st century! I then thought about how much has actually changed since I started teaching in 2001. No wonder schools sometimes feel like a pressure cooker! Every single colleague I work with is stressed. Including me! So how do I mitigate some of that stress on my colleagues as a leader in the schools?

Well, I think that if we lead from the middle, we can incorporate and offer incredible support to our classroom teachers. We can be leaders of information and digital literacy, offering support in the implementation of digital literacies, the ethical use of information and assist with the sourcing and evaluation of information.

Reinsel Soulen (2020) offers some practical advice for supporting first-year teachers, but there is so much that lends itself to the leadership approaches a Teacher Librarian (TL) could offer. She suggests that as instructional leaders we can develop collaborative partnerships and be professional development facilitators.  If we can offer library programs that offer guidance on instructional design to integrate critical thinking, technology and information skills by working with classroom teachers, we are offering a service that assists in establishing learning objectives and goals, developing and designing assessment and implementing assessment strategies (AASL, 2009). I really believe that if we can offer such support, this does in turn ‘lighten the load’ on teachers and with this shared support, we can also offer some teachers who are overwhelmed with their workload, emotional and practical support. By offering support like this, it can empower teachers (Reinsel Soulen, 2020), and also build trusting relationships and bonds with the classroom teacher. It is this positive collegiality that can offer a supportive space for classroom teachers, and assist in bridging the gap between library and the classroom. This will provide a positive impact upon teaching and learning and improve the pedagogical practices for both the classroom teacher and the learning outcomes of the students (Lipscombe et al., 2020).

And if else fails fails, a warm smile, encouraging words and a cup of tea can work wonders in helping those who are stressed….never underestimate the power of a good cup of tea!


American Association of School Librarians (AASL). 2009. Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs. Chicago. ALA.

Lipscombe, K., Grice, C., Tindall-Ford, S., & DeNobile, J. (2020). Middle leading in Australian schools: professional standards, positions and professional development. School Leadership & Management 40 (5).

Reinsel Soulen, R. (2020). The continuum of care. Knowledge Quest, 48(4). 36 -42.

March 14

Leadership: It is made from productive change

I read Jennifer Surge’s ‘Leadership: it is made from productive change’. This was a great introduction to the concept of leadership for me!

This was a great article and I appreciated the author’s succinct approach to leadership and ‘total leader’. Surge believes that a total leader is someone who ensures that things matter actually change, they improve results, ensure more effective operations, make enhancements that benefit everyone and ensure these changes that do occur are lasting.

She sums it up neatly by establishing five pillars that she believes make up productive change:

  • Purpose
  • Vision
  • Ownership
  • Capacity
  •  Support.

Each of these pillars are explored with clear, definitive and achievable statements that simplifies what a total leader is. I asked myself the questions she encourages leaders to ask. I believe that Purpose, Vision and Opportunity were my strengths, and I continued to read with enthusiasm that I ‘had’ this. But then I read Capacity: having the knowledge, skills and resources to make the changes to the purpose and vision, and I realized I still have so much to learn. By now I was feeling deflated. After reading Module 1 and the amazing opportunities Diigo offers to teachers and students, I knew that this is something I will need to gain a great understanding of and share with colleagues. When I read Support, it justified my feelings of inadequacy in Capacity. I just need to expand my knowledge through the networks of support available, attend conferences, read other blogs penned by TLs and engage in professional journals. It is all of these ideas that will strengthen my skillset in Capacity. According to Surge (2020), Teacher Librarians are Total Leaders. I am motivated to fulfil each of the pillars to be just that.

Surge, J. (2020). Leadership: it is made from productive change. Knowledge Quest.

March 14

Module 2.3 Leadership attributes

Think about strategies to take you from TL, the keeper and stamper of the books and the quiet space library, to becoming something different. Make a set of notes using your new understandings to support your arguments and conclusions.

Each of the readings has provided me with a better understanding of what makes a good leader. A key theme throughout the leadership styles (that resonated with me), was vision. I currently hold a key position in my school, as Head of Library and Information Services. This position was ‘gifted’ to me, through the resignation my predecessor, and little interest expressed in the community for her advertised role. As an experienced English and French teacher, I approached my principal to express my interest in the role. To be honest, I would have been happy for the role of the Teacher Librarian, without having to be made Head of this wonderful department. I am not ambitious nor career driven, but I do love literature, reading and learning. My principal believed I had the skills and interest alone, to fulfil the role adequately.

But when I commenced my position, I knew immediately that I did not want to be just the ‘keeper and stamper of books’ and manage a ‘quiet space’. Our library is anything but quiet! As my predecessor was retirement age, her ideas were very different to my own. Whilst I respected her immensely, I wanted to be the driver of change and thought about how I could do that. Hence, my commencement of my studies in this Masters! According to Gleeson (2016), I needed to articulate a clear vision. I need to really think about how I was going to make our library a place that nurtured love and learning and supported those that used it.

I am proud (but not arrogant) to say, that I have been performing as a leader in some ways, without even realising it. I wanted our library to be the learning hub of the school. I wanted to support my students and staff in their research endeavours. I wanted the library to be a safe haven for students on the ‘fringe’. I wanted our library to thrive. And it does, it really does.

  • I do make myself visible. A shy person by nature, I have (with great nerves) stood up on assembly and addressed over 800 people about the importance of reading and the launch of our Book Buzz feed, an initiative that encourages students to review their favourite books that I share on different media platforms
  • I present at staff days to the entire teaching community, showing them how to navigate our research databases and how to search effectively
  • I go into classrooms and support research lessons and activities
  • I present in staff meetings about copyright, and model this implicitly when I publish material (on the school intranet) that acknowledges authors and images
  • I am on the Curriculum committee so that I may liaise with staff and keep a bird’s eye view on the curriculum

But I was only able to achieve this by establishing a sense of trust. Moir, Hattie and Jansen (2014) maintain that to develop leadership capacity, you need to understand what the organisation values are and build your vision from there.

I know I still have an awful lot to learn. But that’s okay. My role as teacher librarian will continue to evolve as we as educators adapt to global considerations and 21st century education. What I want to continue to embrace are the challenges that come with this incredible job, and continue to provide a range of services to my school community.


Gleeson, B. (2016, November 9). 10 unique perspectives on what makes a great leader.

Moir, S., Hattie, J. & Jansen, C. (2014). Teacher perspectives of ‘effective’ leadership in schools. Australian Educational Leader, 36(4), 36-40.

March 14

Module 2.2 Leadership theories

Having completed no study on the theory of leadership or even leadership itself, I have found this module incredibly interesting. After considering each of them, there were actually three stand out leadership styles that resonated with me.

Transactional leadership didn’t sit well with me at all. It reminded me of a past principal that I worked for who was more concerned with maintaining operations and pushing staff to meet targets, without any real concern or care for the well-being of the staff. He was very much performance based, but this didn’t really align with our educational outcomes and that of our key business, our students. He lacked future vision – for teaching and learning at least – and was more concerned with the building, infrastructure and ‘face’ of the school. His focus was very much on the ‘here and now’. As teachers, this should never be how we lead our students. Students need to have a vision, a goal, an insight into where they’re heading in their learning. If they can’t see outcomes, what the purpose will be, then the learning isn’t meaningful.

Transformational leadership resonated with me on a deep level. Its focus is on team-building and motivation and collaboration. It is future conscious and dynamic and the focus is on engaging and motivating staff. The transformational leader has vision and values, and leads by example. They build strong relationships with staff and inspire the team to achieve a common goal.

I also liked Servant leadership, because this is how I see myself in my current role. I certainly do have my students and staff’s best interests at heart and my core business has been about developing trust, collaboration, empathy and ethics (Burkus, 2010). I strive to create long term goals that will benefit staff and students. This future focus has looked at developing digital literacy skills, skills in evaluating and analysing information and navigating the digital landscape. These are skills I offer to share with staff and students, in the hope that I can develop strong, trusting relationships, and collaborate and role-model good practice. I share the importance of embracing new knowledge at both an individual and team level, and hope this influence will demonstrate environments that create results (Agile at Barclayland).

And then I learned about Instructional leadership and saw so many facets of this type of leadership in my principal. His goals are long-term and he includes other staff and the school community in the decision-making processes of the school. Teachers are invited to contribute to discussion about curriculum delivery, resourcing, assessment. The sharing of anecdotal experience is valued, and this is something I also do within the classroom setting. Our principal consistently provides opportunities for staff to develop professionally, but our students are also given opportunities for leadership too. This style of leadership is visionary, sharing this vision with the learning and parent community, and puts the needs of the students first (Spencekao, 2013). This style of leadership empowers others, creates a culture of ideas that are shared to create change and embrace the ever-changing landscape of technology, leading 21st century learners (Spencekao, 2013).


Agile at Barclaycard. (2016, October 14). What is servant leadership? [Video]. YouTube.

Burkus, D. (2010, April 1). Servant leadership theory. David Burkus., 2013

Spencekao. (2013, April 6). Instructional leadership. [Video]. YouTube.–4w

March 14

Module 2 Organisational theories

It has been so interesting reading about organizational theory and the management of schools. As I read through all of the different types of leadership theory, I recognized traits that my Principal possesses, my Heads of Faculty and even myself in my current role.

Each leadership theory promotes its own style and how it benefits the leaders and ‘followers’ of organisations. When we think of schools, particularly in the last decade or so, there has been a need for great flexibility in how schools are run. Whilst there is no one single theory that benefits a school, I think common practice is to see schools operate under a blend of leadership styles.

If early theorists maintain that organisations are ‘machines’, in that its operation is dependent on routine, reliability and fixability; and these organisational structures are formalised and governed by a central authority, dependent on the standardisation of work processes, then historically, schools fit under this definition. Schools are governed by policy and procedure, detailed in National Curriculum documents and relevant syllabi. Standardised testing is present across year levels, and there is an element of routine and reliability to schooling and its structures. Routines are dictated by bells, subjects, age groups and the standardisation of testing. But this model of education is modelled on the interests of industrialism.

Whilst we can neatly assign schools to this ‘machine’ label, what we are forgetting is that schools are about teaching and learning; they are fundamentally about people. Schools are central to learning and thus, their focus should be on optimal pedagogical practices that place students and learning at the fore. Schools that have a strong and deep culture of teaching and learning, see an increase in academic engagement and outcomes. Schools promote and embrace learning and need to consider the needs of the learning community. At a time where school aged children are living in the one of the most stimulating periods of history, we too need to reconsider this ‘machine’ and how its run. Whilst schools may be governed by external influences, we must not forget, that unlike machines, schools are about the people and community who reside within them.

February 27

Our CSU library rocks!

Module 2 asked us to investigate the CSU library and explore the library site. What I found so interesting (and useful!) is the information sources provided and how I am going to use these as information resources. There is an excellent range of tutorials, for example, that inform students how to access databases, find journals and critically evaluate sources. I watched the prerecorded ones, and there was so much useful information here that I can use to teach my students about how to navigate databases, find resources and critically evaluate them. These are all incredibly relevant to my school context, and I feel so stupid for not considering these earlier, as tools to inform my own practice as a teacher librarian in my school. I am never going to stop this journey of learning, and I actually feel incredibly blessed and grateful for the ongoing opportunities this masters is providing me.

January 30

Final reflections….

There is no doubt that frequent, regular access to a diverse, quality fiction collection, in a range of formats in a school library is a mandatory need and right of every single student. An exceptional teacher librarian (TL) allows schools to empower students, support literacy and lifelong learning, bring the school community together, foster relationships between each and every student and bring value to our country and cultural heritage and understanding. This is achieved when the TL manages its resources and acquisition of all resources, through collaboration, leadership and engagement with the school community.

Pathways that allow TLs to achieve the Declaration for the Right to School Libraries are varied and careful consideration needs to be taken to ensure that TLs are fulfilling their roles as advocates for championing reading, literacy and literary learning. Each TL needs to take into consideration their learning community, and tailor pathways that best meet the needs of its students, teachers and greater school community. TLs will need to embrace the core business of information seeking, literacy and reading, as well as supporting the entire school community.

Essentially, a great communicator who listens and responds to the needs of the teaching and learning community, as well as a TL that constantly advocates for their role in assisting the teaching and learning cycle, makes them invaluable in their school.

Participation and involvement in curriculum committees gives TLs great insight into the curriculum content and delivery and gives them a platform to advocate for reading programs and literary learning. I believe a great starting point is to work with one faculty within the school and establish a good working relationship that allows the TL to promote how the library resources can assist in literary learning across their subject area. If we can demonstrate success in one subject area, supplementing and enhancing learning and engagement, it stands us in good stead to self-promote and show real examples of how the TL can assist teachers in ways they may not have previously considered.

Access to a rich and diverse fiction collection is paramount to providing students with their rights to a school library. Diverse formats, genres, access points, a range of varied reading levels that include a diverse representation of culture, authors and subjects are essential to any library. By enabling patron-driven acquisition, equipping students with essential ICT skills to function effectively as 21st century citizens and offering a space that is conducive to learning, exploring and accessing information freely, makes the library the hub of any school and gives students the rights they have been granted in the Declaration.

I think my greatest challenge, after completing this subject, is convincing teachers that literary learning, through the addition of fiction to their curriculum programs, really is a worthwhile and valuable practice. I have already shared my Literary Resource Kit with a colleague who teaches history, and she is definitely ‘intrigued’. But the question remains:  how will we implement this within an already crowded curriculum? That will be my challenge for 2021, and by working closely with some of my (open-minded) colleagues this year, I’m hoping that I get a chance of showing our teachers how valuable literary learning can be, and how I can support them through this process.