Principals and Teacher Librarians

The principal has the key leadership role and has enormous influence over all areas of the school.  A good Teacher Librarian should align the vision and mission of the school library with the school’s mission and the vision of the Principal (Haycock, 2007).  Teacher librarians should gain the support and trust of their principals by helping the principals (Ray, 2013) and by a proven track record of consistent work that supports the school, the teachers and the students (Hughes, 2013).  Teacher librarians can be involved in the curriculum planning by asking to be on planning committees (Haycock, 2007) at staff meetings (McKeever, Bates & Reilly, 2017) and promote good teaching that they see in other staff (Ray, 2013).  The can keep their principals up to date with the work that is going on in the library (Gordon, 2017) so as not to remain ‘invisible’ (Oberg, 2006).  They also need to learn to speak the language of principals, promoting the library in terms of achieving the goals set for the school, and the vision of the principal (Bonanno, 2011).

Principals can support their teacher librarians by giving them adequate time and resources to manage the functions of the library, teach and collaborate with teaching staff (Haycock, 2007) and by allowing them to attend professional development programs (Oberg, 2006).  Principals who encourage or require collaboration between teachers and teacher librarians naturally see more collaboration occurring (Haycock, 2007) and better outcomes for their school (Hughes, 2013). A good relationship between the principal and teacher-librarian will only serve to improve outcomes for everyone (Ray, 2013).

References

Bonnano, K. (2011) ASLA 2011. Karen Bonanno, Keynote speaker: A profession at the tipping point: Time to change the game plan. [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://vimeo.com/31003940

Gordon, C. A. (2017) Making your school library essential: An advocacy guide for teacher librarians. Synergy. Vol 15(1). Retrieved from: http://www.slav.vic.edu.au/synergy/volume-15-number-1-2017/research-into-practice/675-making-your-school-library-essential-an-advocacy-guide-for-teacher-librarians.html

Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35.

Hughes, H. (2013). Findings about Gold Coast Principal’s views of school libraries and teacher librarians. Chapter 8, School libraries, teacher librarians and their contribution to student literacy development in Gold Coast schools. Research report.

McKeeverm, C., Bates, J., and Reilly, J. (2017) School library staff perspectives on teacher information literacy and collaboration. Journal of Information Literacy. 11(2), pp 51-68.

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18..

Ray, M. (2013, Jan 31) Making the principal connection. School Library Journal. Retrieved from: https://www.slj.com/2013/01/opinion/the-same-difference-mark-ray-asserts-that-principals-and-librarians-have-a-lot-more-in-common-than-you-might-think-and-he-should-know/#_

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