ETL504 Teacher Librarian as Leader

Module One
Organisation Theory

Leadership and my thoughts:
I must admit I’ve never really sat down and thought about what leadership means to me. After reading module one though I think I’m finally ready to take a crack at it. Leadership is a complex notion. What or who makes a good leader? What is effective leadership? Are just two questions that have been raised and argued over tirelessly.  The larger than life leader seems in today’s society to be frowned upon. Their gung-ho attitude has now been replaced by a leader who instead of taking all the glory develops the potential of others.

I try to show leadership by leading by example. By supporting colleagues and being willing to get my hands dirty to get the job done right. I try to build mutual trust and try to see the bigger picture. Although I want to state here and now that my leadership skills are far from perfect. I need to be a bit more self-reflective and see where I can improve as well as where I could help others more effectively.

Follow The Leader


Photo used under Creative Commons retrieved from Flickr

Reading: Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). Some theories and theorists on leadership. School leadership that works: from research to results (pp. 13-27). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ;.Retrieved 27 January, 2013 from

This article looks at the way leadership has evolved throughout the decades. It highlights the shift from having one dominant leader to instead having a leader who empowers their follows. This type of leadership helps to ease the leaders load.

Different types of leadership

Authentic Leadership: Ethical behavior encourages openness in sharing information with others and being willing to accept others input.

Transformation Leadership: Leader behaviours that transform and inspire. These leaders transcend their own interests for the good of others.

Ethical Leadership: These leaders conduct themselves appropriately though personal actions and through strong interpersonal relationships with others.

Cognitive Leadership: Constantly thinking about how themselves and their followers thinks and process information.

Transactional Leadership: Based on the exchange of rewards based on overall performance.

Shared Leadership: Team members collectively lead each other.

Team Work

Trust.jpg by

Photo used under Creative Commons retrieved from Flickr


Reading: Hackman, J., & Wageman, R. (2007). Asking the Right Questions About Leadership. American Psychologist, 62(1), 43-47.

Leadership is a topic that has been discussed at length and it seems will be forever argued over. The term leadership has been defined in so many different ways that it seems to not even have a single definition.

In the article Bennis(2007) notes that these days people are focused on good or bad leadership. Attributes of good and bad leaders were analysed and it was revealed that both types of leaders exhibited entirely different patterns of behaviour. Bennis also revealed that every follower had the potential to become a leader. When working in a group environment the distinction between leaders and followers becomes blurred.

Leadership Skills Test

After answering a skills test questionnaire my results state I am on my way to becoming a good leader. Good, damn, I wanted great 🙂

My score result: Score 64

Excellent! You’re well on your way to becoming a good leader. However, you can never be too good at leadership or too experienced – so look at the areas below where you didn’t score maximum points, and figure out what you can do to improve your performance.

Self-Confidence (Questions 2, 8)

Your score is 7 out of 10   

 Positive Attitude and Outlook (Questions 10, 17)

Your score is 8 out of 10   

 Emotional Intelligence

(Questions 5, 15)

Your score is 7 out of 10   

Providing a Compelling Vision of the Future (Questions 6, 14)

Your score is 7 out of 10   

 Motivating People to Deliver the Vision (Questions 9, 12)

Your score is 8 out of 10   

 Being a Good Role Model (Questions 4, 11)

Your score is 8 out of 10   

 Managing Performance Effectively (Questions 3, 13)

Your score is 8 out of 10   

 Providing Support and Stimulation (Questions 1, 7, 16, 18)

Your score is 11 out of 20  

obviously after reviewing my results I need to really pick up my game in providing support and stimulation. 11 out of 20, OUCH! that’s nearly a fail.

Reading: Hargreaves, A. (2007). Sustainable Leadership and Development in Education: creating the future, conserving the past.. European Journal of Education, 42(2), 223-233. Retrieved January 24, 2013, from

More and more nations are realising the importance and power that comes with knowledge. All seek to be classified as a knowledge society. In knowledge societies the wealth and prosperity of the nation rests on the people’s capacity outsmart or out -invent their competitors.

A culture of continuous innovation and thus economic success can only be achieved when people are educated throughout their working lives. The same is true for students. With sustainable educational leadership they can be placed on the right path to develop and preserve life skills.

Reading: Sergiovanni, T. (2005). The Virtues of Leadership. The Educational Forum, 69(Winter), 112-123. Retrieved January 16, 2013, from

This article looks at four leadership virtues; hope, trust, piety and civility. Leadership is a moral action. To be a successful leader one must do the right thing according to their own set of morals and values. Moral ties bind you to a personal obligation.

The heartbeat analogy was also appealing stating virtue strengthens the heartbeat of the school. A strong heartbeat is the schools best defence against the obstacles leaders face on a daily basis to make the school a better place. Strengthening a schools heartbeat relies on the entire school community and a true willingness to work together as leaders and followers.

Strengthening a Schools Heartbeat

[42-365] Dear Book: Heart. Love, Cliché by c_chan808

Photo used under Creative Commons retrieved from Flickr

[42-365] Dear Book: Heart. Love, Cliché

Reading: Sergiovanni, T. (1984). Leadership and Excellence in Schooling. Educational Leadership, February, 4-13. Retrieved January 24, 2013, from

Is your school a good school? What actually defines a good school? While most people find it easy to recognise a good school from a bad one when asked to define what makes a good school stumps most of them. While we easily recognise its good we can’t easily put our finger on what makes it so.

“Important differences exist among incompetent, competent and excellent schools. Students in excellent schools accomplish far more and Teachers work much harder than can ordinarily be expected”. This could be due to satisfaction. The student is satisfied because their learning needs are being met and the teacher has work satisfaction because students are engaged and willing to learn.

Reading: Decision Making Style and its Effect On Morale. (n.d.).  Leadership and Management Development – FREE Business Development Seminars & Programs. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from

Leaders are stuck with decisions on a daily basis, more often than not, these decisions are based on the best interest of the whole community. Below are four examples of different leadership styles. I’d like to think that my own style incorporates a little bit of each of them.

Democratic decision making is when the leader gives up ownership and control of a decision and allows the group to vote.

Autocratic decision making is when the leader maintains total control and ownership of the decision

Collective – Participative decision making is when the leader involves the members of the organization

Consensus decision making is when the leader gives up total control of the decision.

Module Two

Leading Change

Reading: Kotter, J. (n.d.). The 8-Step Process for Leading Change . Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from

 Change is inevitable but by taking a holistic approach to change Dr John Kotter believes we can ultimately ensure that any change is successful. Having a plan will also keep you on the right track.

  1. 1.      Establishing a sense of urgency
  2. 2.      Creating the Guiding Coalition
  3. 3.      Developing a Change Vision
  4. 4.      Communicating the Vision for Buy-in
  5. 5.      Empowering Broad-based Action
  6. 6.      Generating Short-term Wins
  7. 7.      Never Letting Up
  8. 8.      Incorporating Changes into the Culture

Don Tapscott outlined 4 principles of an open world:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Transparency
  3. Sharing
  4. Empowerment

How can these principles be applied to school libraries or teacher librarians? 

Great leadership empowers others. Open leadership focuses on the interests of the collective rather than on the interest of an individual. Many of earth’s creatures collaborate to find food or defend against their adversaries. Bees live in swarms, fish swim in schools. Why can’t humans model these creature’s behaviours and strive for success through collaboration, transparency, sharing and empowerment? Bouncing ideas of colleagues, being clear and open about the topic at hand, discussion/sharing your opinions on what needs to be done, giving others the power and knowledge to shine.

Reading: Belbin, R. M. (2010). Chapter 9. The art of building a team. Team roles at work (2nd ed., pp. 97-106). Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann.

The Art of Building a Team

The strength of any team is determined by how well people collaborate together and how successful the team is at getting the job done. A team can fail if individuals have not selected for their attributes but because of who they are. Just because you are a senior manager does not mean you’re the best player to lead the team.

A greater understanding of what the person can offer to a role is required before placing a person into a role that may be inappropriate. Good communication, collaboration and varying people’s positions/duties within the team can also ensure success.

Reading: Aguilar, E. (n.d.). Effective Teams: The Key to Transforming Schools? | Edutopia. K-12 Education & Learning Innovations with Proven Strategies that Work | Edutopia. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from

Running an effective team and successfully completing a task can be difficult if you don’t follow a few essential rules. A Good team has a clear direction. A Good team may argue or have a differing of opinion but it is essentially healthy conflict. A Good team must keep the lines of communication open at all times. Being persistent and having a good team work ethic, where each individual does their fair share is also of up most importance.

Reading: (What is innovation? | Australian Innovation System Report 2011. (n.d.). Innovation. Retrieved February 2, 2013, from

Innovation is about a new and improved product, about making a change or doing something fresh and different. Innovation is critical in a school library environment to keep up with changes to the curriculum or the learning needs of individual students.


The Innovation advantage image retrieved from

Reading: Kotter, J. (n.d.).  Kotter International – Change Leadership.     Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from

Leadership is about coping with change. Leadership is not the same as management.

Leaders innovate, create, communicate and motivate. Managers plan, budget, organise and control problem solving. If management exists without leadership then the company will not have the expertise and skills to lead them to change/evolve. Having well balanced managerial and leadership skills will allow any company to flourish.

Reading: Kotter, J. (n.d.). Change Management vs. Change Leadership — What’s the Difference? – Forbes. Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Retrieved January 28, 2013, from

This article highlights the difference between the concepts of ‘change management’ and ‘change leadership’.

Change Management – Having a set of skills in place to keep change under control.

Change Leadership – The driving forces, the vision that drives the transformation. An engine.

Kotter suggests many people have the skills when it comes to change management but that a rare few possess the traits of change leadership to truly be the leading force behind any organisation. He suggests change leadership has a huge potential and could get the job done on a much wider scale but that empowering masses is the key. He also controversially states that not many people are actually good at change leadership.

Module 3

Leadership for Learning

Reading: Donoghue, T. A., & Clarke, S. (2010). Teachers learning and teachers leading. Leading learning: process, themes and issues in international contexts (pp. 87-99). London: Routledge.

This article discussed how teachers can direct or lead learning within the classroom its main focus was on surface and deep learning.

Surface Learning: Students approach their learning by reproducing facts. These students miss the point and have not truly thought for themselves or reflected on what they have learnt.

 Deep Learning: Students seek the meaning of what they are learning and link it to their prior knowledge. There is a change in student thinking and the world is seen in a different way.

Students need to find flexibility in their learning, they need to not only understand the main concepts that are offered to them about a given topic but also possess the necessary skills to delve a little deeper and explore how these skills can be connected to what they already know.

Reading: Starkey, L. (2012). Knowledge and connectivism. Teaching and learning in the digital age (pp. 20-28). New York, NY: Routledge.

Teaching and learning in the digital age is still focused primarily on preparing our students to participate in society as well adjusted, well rounded individuals.

Behaviourist learning theory: Knowledge is the acquirement of new behaviour.

‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (ZPD) is the gap between what a student already knows and what they are yet to master.

The digital age does not mean that learning theories will become redundant. Instead it will reinforce these practices and deliver them in a format that students enjoy and can easily engage in. With the digital age the school curriculum will change. Learning will be digitally based, not always, but often. Teachers will need to include concepts in their teaching that will help students to understand the world in which they live and provide them with the essential skills to strongly participate in society.

Learning in the Digital Age

The Digital Age image retrieved from

Reading: Moore, A. (2012). Theories of teaching and learning. Teaching and learning: pedagogy, curriculum and culture (2nd ed., pp. 1-30). London: Routledge.

Teaching theory is not always applied consciously. It is often applied naturally or even unknowingly. Whichever style of teaching theory is chosen is often selected because it is already embedded in everyday classroom practice or because it is student focused.

Skinner’s ‘law of positive reinforcement’: People learn best for being rewarded when they provide a correct response. This theory is linked to positive reinforcement and goal achievement. Ground rules for behavior are set and students aim to reach target goals and are in turn rewarded for their effort. A criticism of this theory is that there is no room for failure. It is argued students learn just as much from failing a task as they do from achieving one.

Piaget: Active Learning states Students can construct their own knowledge rather than simply being receivers of it. It is teaching that builds upon a student’s prior knowledge.

Staged Development suggests children will naturally progress through a set of stages in their learning. These stages become progressively harder/more complicated overtime.

Traditionalists are often opposed to Piaget’s style of teaching and would prefer to return to more traditional teacher lead learning.

Vygotsky: Learning and teaching as essentially social activities: Learning is an active process and move through age related stages. He urges all to view learning and teaching as social activities and believes teachers can influence a child’s development rather than wait for it to occur.

Teachers need to be familiar with a range of theories in order to identify which aspects of a theory they wish to incorporate into their teaching and their school. The theories should be relevant to their students their schools culture and learning requirements.

Reading: Trilling, B., & Fadel, C. (2009). Learning and innovation skills. 21st century skills learning for life in our times (pp. 45-60). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

The 21st Century Knowledge and Skills Rainbow.

This model represents the skills, awareness and capability students need to master in order to work and live successfully in the 21st century. The world in which we now live demands skills that are not always taught in our schools. Today jobs are more demanding and people’s skills must be of a high quality to match this demand. Students must cultivate strong critical thinking and problem solving skills in order to progress in the 21st century. These skills can be learned through a range of problem solving activities and programs. Strong communication and collaborative skills are also essential and are best learned socially. Creativity and Innovation are also important but are believed by some to be harder to teach or even can’t be taught. However learning environments that encourage, have high levels of trust and are open to both triumphs and failures are sure to help creativity and innovation shine.

Reading: MacBeath, J. E., & Dempster, N. (2009). Leadership for learning. Connecting leadership and learning: principles for practice (pp. 32-52). London: Routledge.

Leadership and learning go hand-in-hand. Before being able to lead others however a leader needs to be able to lead oneself. In the school environment leadership is required to support learning and are seen as specialists in the development of learning. In order for leadership in learning to be successful teachers need to look at leadership as a responsibility rather than an obligation or burden. Grasping the concept of leadership for learning also involves the concepts of activity, agency and moral purpose.

Reading: Collay, M. (20112011). Teaching is leading. Everyday Teacher Leadership: Taking Action Where You Are (pp. 75-108). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Teaching is leading and often teacher leadership is overlooked because the leadership takes place behind closed classroom doors and the teacher has no official leadership title i.e. Head Teacher/ Principal. When a teacher seeks greater learning for their students and for their fellow colleagues they are showing effective Instructional leadership. To lead you need to see yourself as a leader and be unafraid to shake up the status quo.

Reading: Goodnough, K. (2005). Fostering Teacher Learning through Collaborative Inquiry. Clearing House, 79(2), 88-92.

This article discussed the importance of Collaborative Inquiry. How staff and students can work together to achieve a common goal. Through CI groups “co-learners work through repeated cycles of planning, reflection, and action as they explore an issue or question of importance to the group”. (Goodnough 2005) If we can learn to successfully collaborate with our students and other staff we will be able to achieve our goals more easily and know it was a communal effort that got us there.

Module 4


Communication is the key to building strong working relationships and effective collaborative partnerships within the school community.

Rai, U., & Rai, S. M. (2009). Barriers to communication. Effective communication (Rev. ed., pp. 57-67). Mumbai [India: Himalaya Pub. House.

A large amount of communication within an organisation commonly occurs between employees of equal status. If communication is to occur among everyone in the organisation then the introduction of horizontal communication would be most effective. This would give everyone in the organisation the opportunity to exchange information, discuss plans/problems and solve conflict.

An organisations aim is to function as a complete unit. This can be achieved if the people within the organisation have a common understanding or a general consensus about goings on in the organisation. A grapevine is another way of communication within an organisation. Grapevines are highly influential and at times can have a negative impact on staff as information may be relayed incorrectly or come from an unreliable source. Because a grapevine is closely linked to the morale of staff it is essential that incorrect information is abolished quickly. Transparency within the organisation would also help to abolish wrong information.

Bender, Y. (2005). Building effective communication. The tactful teacher effective communication with parents, colleagues, and administrators (pp. 3-18). White River Junction, VT: Nomad Press.

Building Effective Communication

We communicate in a variety of ways, mostly through direct communication, but indirect or unintentional communication such as body language or facial expressions also enter into how we communicate. The way that we communicate in turn determines how others interpret us. Rejecting a handshake or refusing to make eye contact can say just as much as any words can. But it can also be interpreted in a variety of different ways. When we communicate we must remember that actions speak as loudly as words.

Communication needs to be adapted to fit the situation/circumstance. For example your conversations at home, among family, may be more laid back and playful than say in the boardroom during a crucial meeting. Observing behaviour can help to ensure that your conversation is appropriate and suits the circumstance. Questioning if everyone looks happy and if everyone is satisfied can also ensure that you are on the right track.

In the school environment Bender (2005) advises you to learn the schools communication chain of command. Don’t be afraid to ask other colleagues about whom to contact over certain matters. It is also advised to find a teacher handbook if available, practice active listening, remain positive and be willing to compromise/collaborate over any issues that may arise.


10 Principles of Resolution

Consider these principles as proposed by Levine (2009). These principles of resolution are the key to conflict resolution.

  1. Believing in abundance  (old – scarcity)– there is enough – you just need to be creative. If budget is tight – think laterally and not negatively. This principle is key to the remaining 9:
    1. No limit to what creativity can produce
    2. Apply the principles of creativity to solving problems
  2. Creating partnership (old – wasting resources)
  3. Being creative
  4. Fostering sustainable collaboration
  5. Becoming open
  6. Forming long term collaborations
  7. Relying on feelings and intuition
  8. Disclosing information and feelings
  9. Learning throughout the resolution process
  10. Becoming responseABLE

Levine, S. (2009). Getting to resolution turning conflict into collaboration (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Forsyth, P. (2009). Understanding the process. Negotiation skills for rookies from rookie to expert in a week (pp. 11-30). London: Marshall Cavendish Business

Negotiation requires give and take and is only successful when both sides feel they have reached a satisfactory deal/conclusion. Communication also plays a vital role because if you can’t communicate efficiently you will never be a great negotiator. Being persuasive also helps but you must be sure that your argument is clear and is agreed upon by the other party. Planning ahead will help keep you on track and make communication run smoothly.

Shearouse, S. H. (2011). Reaching agreement: a solution seeking model. Conflict 101 a manager’s guide to resolving problems so everyone can get back to work (pp. 195-214). New York: American Management Association.

A four step solution seeking model

Prepare: Create a guideline for the discussion

Discover: Discuss what is important to each party.

Consider: Find ways to reach a common ground.

Commit: Agree on an acceptable solution and start the process of putting it into action.

The above model can help you to carefully consider your argument and slow down a sometimes rushed decision-making process.  Remember to always explore an issue thoroughly, look to others perspectives, Identify Interests and consider all the outcomes. Then finally commit to the best option agreed upon by the majority before implementing the new practice.

Always remember how we respond to conflict or difficulties tend to be based on our “fight or flight” response.  Emotional or irrational thoughts can cause you to make decisions that you wouldn’t have usually made.


Complete the Conflict Resolution Questionnaire .

This Questionnaire can be located at the below URL.

After completing the Questionnaire my results were calculated. My style of conflict resolution tends to be best described as:  Collaborating. You tend to express above average assertiveness and above average cooperation. Some of your associates may think of you as an owl because you believe that two people working together can come up with a better answer than either can produce individually.

What is your approach to managing conflict?

After taking the conflict resolution questionnaire I am quite pleased with the result. I always try to collaborate. I think this is largely due to my aversion to conflict. I don’t like conflict and have most of my life tried to avoid it. In saying this though I don’t let people walk over me. I like to have my opinions heard just like everyone else but I try to go about it in a non-argumentative way.

Does this match to how you think of yourself?

Yes, the survey results were how I see myself. Although the Owl reference is a tad strange. Are Owl’s highly collaborative? Will need to look into that.

What areas do you think you need to develop?

Anyone can develop. I know I could certainly listen more actively and really try to see the conversation from the other persons point of view.


Communication Processes

Lewis, L. K. (2011). Communication approaches and strategies. Organizational change creating change through strategic communication (pp. 144-176). Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell.

Strategic Implementation models

Nutt (1987) developed 4 models of change implementation; Intervention, Participation, Persuasion, and edict. The models highlight how implementers make communication choices by introducing, monitoring and adjusting an organisations policy.

When we talk about strategic communication the implementer should first think about the channel of communication they will choose i.e. Word of mouth or a small informal discussion etc. The choice of channel can help to successfully implement the change/policy and ensure a smooth implementation.

Module 5

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is a process that enables a teacher library to plan for their libraries future. A strategic plan is usually forecast for three to five years. Steve Matthews writes –“Without an adequate Strategic Plan your library will likely be spinning its wheels, wasting its resources and getting nowhere”.

Wong, Tracey. “Strategic long-range planning.(for school library media centers) .” Library Media Connection 31.2 (2012): 22-23. Web. 13 Jan. 2013

The mission and objectives of the school library should always be considered when developing a strategic plan. A plan can also curb expenditures and justify resource additions/subtractions. An evolving library will also allow a teacher librarian to professionally evolve.

Strategic long-ranged planning that is data informed will help a teacher librarian to measure input and output measures of the movement of resources and will provide a better understanding of the cost effectiveness of current programs in direct relation to instruction, learning and achievement.

A strategic plan maps where you are now and where you are headed. It pulls together a shared understanding of where you currently are. Looks at possible future scenarios and plans for the future that we choose.


S- Social

T- Technological

E- Environmental

E- Economic

P- Political

Defining and articulating your vision, mission and values.” JISC infoNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2013. <>

Defining an organisation with a vision and a mission statement about its character or ethos can help to define the organisations values which represent the here and now but also represents the future.

Mission Statements: represent an organisations purpose. Mission statements should be short, memorable and inspiring.

Vision Statements: explain where you are headed. Vision statements should be future casting, clear, visible, Audacious, Descriptive, 5+ years.

A SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats


Strengths: What is great about your library?


Weaknesses: What needs development?


Opportunities: What events or activities can be leveraged?


Threats: What is a possible barrier to development?

Strategic planning: a 10 step guide .” Worldbank . N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2013.

Long range planning: Predicts future conditions and multi-year projections.

Strategic Planning: determines what an organisation intends to be in the future. It is a vision that determines the necessary priorities, procedures, and operations to achieve their vision. Key issues, internal and external should be addressed in the strategic plan and an agreement on how to solve these issues should be sought by the majority. A joint broad staff effort will be required to not only create the plan but to make the plan a success.

Your library strategic plan: a guide to its development.” State Library of Queensland. N.p., 2009. Web. 14 Jan. 2013.

ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS in a strategic plan:

Goals: Might be to provide free access to library and information services.

Strategies: to promote and develop a wide range of free services for users in the community.

Targets/Performance Measures: Library outreach services, development of collection in a wider range of formats. Track usage, Run surveys to prove increased awareness of services.

Next Steps: Review the process and see what worked and what didn’t.


Module 6

Teacher Librarian as Leader

Belisle, C. (2005). The Teacher as Leader: Transformational Leadership and the Professional Teacher or Teacher-Librarian. School Libraries In Canada (17108535), 24(3), 1.

Teacher librarians need to become an integral part of their school communities. This will only be achieved if TL’s adopt transformational leadership strategies that reach beyond the walls of the library. Successfully implementing change is also a challenge. Whitaker (1995) suggests this can be achieved through an Informal teacher leadership Structure. Where teachers who are not necessarily in leadership roles, but who carry a large weight of influence in a school, are questioned to see where they stand on certain issues. Their advice can help to ensure a changes implementation is more successful.

Whitaker, T. (1995). Accomplishing change in schools: The importance of informal teacher leaders. Clearing House 68(6),356-357.

O’Connell, J. (2012). Change has arrived at an iSchool library near you. In Information literacy beyond library 2.0 (pp. 215-228). London : Facet.


The role of the teacher librarian is intrinsically linked to information curation and dissemination. To be successful as a TL a library should be developed with forward thinking in mind. By building a future ready learning network the library will naturally transition into a facility for future learning.

Zmuda, A., & Harada, V. H. (2008). Librarians as learning specialists: moving from the margins to the mainstream of school leadership. Teacher Librarian, 36(1), 15-20.

To truly be a 21st-century school and have a 21st-century library a TL must embrace learning beliefs that produce engaged and sustained learning and develop skills of independence, problem solving, and teamwork. This can be achieved by the development of a mission that motivates and measures purpose. TL’s also need to improve on their skills and ask themselves; am I willing to change and lead change? Am I competent in new technologies and do I operate at my full competence? Do I consider and demonstrate new/improved ways of teaching?

Reflection and Forum Discussion

A major challenge for teacher librarians is to have others in the school community recognise what they do for their library and their school. If a TL doesn’t understand why they do what they do then how can others within the school community completely understand their role? Having a vision for your library will give a teacher librarian’s role purpose. This purpose will enable a TL to take the lead in their organisation, to push forward for change and strive for success.

Coatney, S. (2010). Leadership from the middle: building influence for change. The many faces of school library leadership (pp. 1-12). Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited.

The way to accomplish your libraries vision and mission is through exercising leadership. However being accepted as a leader is no easy feat and teacher librarians must first know where they are headed and why before they can lead effectively. Leadership then becomes a personal challenge for a TL. By leading from the middle and forming collaborative partnerships a TL can build influence and create change.

Cawthorne, J. (2010). Leading from the Middle of the Organization: An Examination of Shared Leadership in Academic Libraries. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 36(2), 151-157. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from

Shared Leadership Theory recognises that anyone within an organisation can lead not just those in senior positions. Effective leaders recognise this and learn to rely on many members within their organisation. The distribute work among those best suited for it. This ensures the jobs are completed well but also produces a culture within the organisation that promotes shared leadership and collaborative partnerships.

If a teacher librarian were to embrace the qualities of shared leadership within their own professional practice then they will find that they can more easily influence fellow educators and effectively implement strategic plans that may have been more likely to fail in the past.

Advocacy: Change: Innovative Practices & Evolving Roles . (n.d.). The School Library Media Specialist. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from

Change has now become the norm in an educational environment rather than the exception to the rule. TL’s recognise that if they are not willing to change that their school, their students as well as their own employment will suffer. In order for change to be successful teacher librarians must learn how to effectively facilitate change. They must also persuade other teachers that the change is essential in order to grow as an organisation. Often convincing others that change is essential is harder than the actual change itself.

Through innovative ideas and becoming a visionary a teacher librarian can plan ahead rather than remaining in the here and now.

Bonanno, K., & Moore, R. (2009, October 2). Advocacy: reason, responsibility and rhetoric. Australian School Library Association :: ASLA. Retrieved February 2, 2013, from

Advocacy is a deliberate/intentional effort to raise awareness about an issue. TL’s are advocates of their libraries because they are consistently promoting what they do and why they do it. Advocacy is a necessary process and helps to spread awareness of an organisations key message.

Doucett, E. (2011). Promotional marketing. What they don’t teach you in library school (pp. 85-91). Chicago: American Library Association. Retrieved January 27, 2013 from

If libraries do not consider marketing how can they let users know what is available in terms of their resources or services?

How a library can improve their marketing

Define library goals

Define the audience

Identify your story – What is the message you want to portray.

Kiss principle – Keep it simple.

Be consistent

Extend your audience

The Wider Role of the Teacher Librarian

“Excellent teacher librarians:

  • actively engage in school leadership and participate in key committees
  • promote and nurture a ‘whole school focus’ on information literacy policy and implementation
  • build and foster collaborative teams within school and professional communities
  • provide effective and transformational leadership to school library and information services staff”

Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians [n.d.] :: ASLA. Australian School Library Association :: ASLA. Retrieved February 2, 2013, from

Markless, S. (n.d.). Professionalism and the school librarian. Facet Publishing. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from

With many teacher librarians still unofficially trained, i.e. have no official university qualifications, how can we ensure professionalism across the position. Now I’m not saying that librarians that do not have a piece of paper are unfit to be in their positions but I am saying that this has helped to discredit the professional recognition of the role Markless (2013) also agrees with this position. This has also led to a discourse in the profession and to the uncertainty of a TL’s role. A clear sense of self and where your library is headed, a forward thinking vision and a sound work ethic will assist trained or untrained TL’s to effectively fulfil their duties.

Martin, A. M. (2012). Building advocacy plans. Seven steps to an award-winning school library program (2nd ed., pp. 55-62). Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited.

Having a clear goal and a clear method on how to achieve that goal is essential to attain change. Also knowing what factors imped change can help the TL to overcome any obstacles before they even occur. Brainstorming solutions (Developing an action plan) can put into place an effective plan that can be implemented in the event of negative issues arising.

My Thoughts

A major challenge for teacher librarians is to have others in the school community recognise what they do for their library and their school. If a TL doesn’t understand why they do what they do then how can others within the school community completely understand their role? Having a vision for your library will give a teacher librarian’s role purpose. This purpose will enable a TL to take the lead in their organisation, to push forward for change and strive for success.

Reflection and Forum Discussion

What are your thoughts now on leadership and the teacher librarian? 

The teacher librarian’s role within the school community is multifaceted. They are educators, librarians, mangers, developers and information specialists but most importantly they are leaders. Strong leadership skills help a TL to implement effective change within and outside the library. These skills also help TL’s to move with the times, to evolve as a profession and expand and explore new avenues of learning on a continual basis. Before the course I never really thought much about leadership, or why it is essential to the running of any organisation. Now that we are nearing the end of the course I have learnt that effective leaderships paves the way to effective, long lasting change.

How does what you have been learning relate to your current role in the school?

As a classroom teacher in a school environment I have always tried to show leadership by leading by example, by supporting colleagues and by getting the job done right. I try to build a mutual trust between myself and my colleagues and strive to see the bigger picture. As a teacher librarian I feel I will be in an even better position to shine as a leader. Instead of being stuck inside a single classroom I will have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with teachers across the entire school.

As a teacher there were a few times when I felt afraid to approach senior executives because I was a new scheme teacher, because I felt inferior and thought my ideas would quickly be dismissed.  As a teacher librarian I hope to be on a more even keel. I will strive to focus senior executive’s attention on the importance of the library, to gain their support and motivate everyone to cherish library resources. This will be achieved through strong communication, collaboration and personal perseverance.

How could you (if needed) put a different lens on your role through using some of the ideas in this module?

While our school has a vision and mission statement our school library has neither. If I were a TL I would change this immediately as I have learnt what a crucial role each play in the future direction the library will take. Also our current librarian (in her own words) has everything up in her head and nothing in writing. I would immediately change this as I believe everyone involved in the library should know where we currently are and where we are headed. If only one person knows what is going on and nothing is in set in stone how can the TL truly lead and expect others to follow?

Critical Reflection Blog Task ETL504 Assessment 2 Part B

We have examined leadership in depth during this subject and one of the most valuable things I have learnt is that a strong foundation of core values or beliefs can help to define a leader. I have also learnt that a teacher librarian who adheres to the vision and mission statements in their school, who promotes library information services, who develops programs that support lifelong learning and incorporates current curriculum practices into their daily instruction demonstrates true leadership qualities.

ETL504 has also extended my understanding of the role of the teacher librarian by transforming my own views on leadership and the role the teacher librarian plays as a leader in their library and school community. At the beginning of the course and in my first assessment task reflection Gleeson (2013.a.) I originally possessed a hierarchical view on leadership. I saw executive staff members as the sole leaders within the school community. Now my preconceived notion of leadership has evolved into a more holistic approach. I believe all teachers, regardless of their position, or expertise, should see themselves as leaders and strive to take on leadership roles.

My understanding of exactly what makes a leader has also evolved after learning about the vast array of leadership theories. I had previously believed that leadership could not be taught and that certain individuals were simply born with leadership skills. You either possessed leadership qualities or you didn’t. I now recognise that leadership is made up of a combination of technical and human traits and was surprised to learn some leadership qualities can actually be learned.

I have also grown to appreciate the importance of planning. Planning maps out a clear direction for the library and its team. Planning can also raise the chances of success as everyone involved in the plan has a clear understanding of what they are required to do and why. In a blog reflection Gleeson (2013.b.) I commented on the importance of including all staff in the developmental process of a strategic plan. This is important because the team will be more likely to cultivate the policy, follow through with its implementation and help fix any problems that may arise whilst the policy is being incorporated when they are included from the beginning. Planning can also reduce the stress that change can bring because planning generates direction, communicates where we are headed and provides structure. Developing a strategic plan for the library that consists of realistic goals, promotes continuous learning and pushes for effective change will further guarantee a library’s success. It is essential to remember that planning will not always result in success but that any failures you experience can eventually drive you to even more success. Having a solid plan in place will ensure that if you go off track you can quickly get back on it.

Throughout the course my understanding of the difference between management and leadership was also extended. For me management and leadership were linked as all managers were surely all leaders. Kotter (2013) helped me realise that this is not always the case. Being a good manager does not automatically make you a good leader. Possessing the skills to create a roster or manage money efficiently does not mean that you can effectively implement change or motivate others. Successful leadership is achieved when individuals can obtain an even balance of managerial and leadership skills.

In another blog reflection Gleeson (2013.c.) I also discussed how teacher librarians must become true promoters of change. To facilitate change they must be forward thinkers who guide and support library users. Harvey (2011) agrees with this notion but takes the role of the teacher librarian a step further by not only seeing a teacher librarian as a leader or a promoter of change but also as a coach. I share this viewpoint and believe a teacher librarian coaches their school community by providing expert advice on how to locate, evaluate, process and effectively use information.

In a forum post CSU (2013, May 13th) I commented on sometimes being hesitant to approach senior executives because I am not yet a Teacher librarian and am a new scheme teacher. In my mind I was in an inferior position and I thought that my ideas would be quickly dismissed. Now that I am nearing the completion of this subject I have realised that my mind set is beginning to change from that of a teacher to that of a teacher librarian. I am more motivated to speak my mind, gain senior executives support and can’t wait to encourage the school community to cherish their school library.


Australian School Library Association. (2012). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. What is a teacher librarian? Retrieved from

Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2004). Leading change. In Kogan Page Limited (Eds.), Making sense of change management a complete guide to the models, tools & techniques of organizational change (pp. 138-186). Retrieved from  cho=1&userid=75%2bPOA257%2f1ZaNWG7TLUwA%3d%3d&tstamp=1360486345&id=CEB8F14A74B4AFB6BC52CD3D0AEEA260A3053CEF

Charles Stuart University (CSU). (2013, May 13th). Module 6 forum post, accessed 18th May 2013, retrieved from

Coatney, S. (2010). Leadership from the middle: building influence for change. The Many Faces of School Library Leadership. Santa Barbara, California Libraries Unlimited. Retrieved from

Gleeson, H. (2013). a. hannahgleesonblog, Reflective journal blog task ETL504 assessment 1 part b, weblog, accessed 18th May 2013, retrieved from

Gleeson, H. (2013). b. hannahgleesonblog, Strategic planning my thoughts, weblog, accessed 18th May 2013, retrieved from

Gleeson, H. (2013).c. hannahgleesonblog, The changing role of the teacher librarian my thoughts, weblog, accessed 18th May 2013, retrieved from

Harvey, C. A. (2011). The Coach in the Library.  Coaching: The New Leadership Skill. 69(2). Retrieved from

Kotter, J. (2013). Management is (still) not leadership. HBR Blog Network.  Accessed 14th May 2013, retrieved from 11/05/2013 from

NSW Department of Education and Training. (2006). Professional learning and leadership development. School leadership capability framework. Retrieved from

O’Brien, A. (2013). School leaders: Guiding teachers into the digital age. Edutopia blog. Accessed 10th May 2013, retrieved from

Reflective Journal Blog Task ETL504 Assessment 1 Part B

Leadership is a complex notion. I never realised that there were so many different ways to define leadership until I started this course. A  Leader was once described as one dominate individual, a larger-than-life character who took it solely upon themselves to make a difference. Today the larger-than-life persona is frowned upon and a shift has replaced this gung-ho leader with someone who strives to empower others, is clear about what needs to be done and gives others the expertise to shine.

After completing the first three modules of the course I have come to understand that leadership is a combination of technical and human traits. Some of these traits naturally exist in born leaders and other traits can be taught. I have also come to understand that there is a difference between management and leadership. Just because someone is in management doesn’t mean they are necessarily a great leader. They may have great managerial skills; plan and budget well, are organised and good problem solvers. But can they innovate, create, communicate and motivate others? It seems the road to success is paved by having well balanced managerial and leadership skills.

As a classroom teacher in a school environment I have always tried to show leadership by leading by example, by supporting colleagues and by getting the job done right. I try to build a mutual trust between myself and my colleagues and strive to see the bigger picture. As a teacher librarian I feel I will be in an even better position to shine as a leader. Instead of being stuck inside a single classroom I will have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with teachers across the entire school.

As a teacher there were a few times when I felt afraid to approach senior executives because I was a new scheme teacher, because I felt inferior and thought my ideas would quickly be dismissed.  As a teacher librarian I hope to be on a more even keel. I will strive to focus senior executive’s attention on the importance of the library, to gain their support and motivate everyone to cherish library resources. This will be achieved through strong communication, collaboration and personal perseverance.

To end this post on leadership I feel it is important to point out that within every school community the practice of leadership should be present at the senior executive level right through to the schools support staff no matter what your position is. The problem with leadership in schools is that not all staff view themselves as leaders. Some are unsure of how others would react to their ideas or ways of thinking, others prefer to keep their head down and some simply don’t want the extra responsibility that leadership roles can bring. The success of your school will be determined by the collective not by a sole few who seek to lead and inspire.


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Davies, B. J., & Davies, B. (2005). The Dimensions of Leadership: The strategic dimensions of leadership. In School leadership in the 21st century: Developing a strategic approach (2nd ed.) (pp. 7-16). London:RoutledgeFalmer. Retrieved 24/03/2013, from

Donham, J. (2005). Leadership. In enhancing teaching and learning: A leadership guide for school library media specialists (2nded.) (pp. 295-305). New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. Retrieved 02/04/2013, from

Law, S.,& Glover, D. (2000). Leading effective teams. In educational leadership and learning: practice, policy and research (pp. 71-86). Buckingham, England: Open University Press. Retrieved 24/03/2013, from

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Townsend, T. (2011). School leadership in the twenty-first century: Different approaches to common problems. School Leadership and Management, 31(2), 93-103. Retrieved 22/03/2013, from


The Changing Role of the Teacher Librarian My Thoughts

The role of the teacher librarian has evolved dramatically over the past few decades. Instead of simply being a caretaker of resources the TL’s role has expanded to include instructional leadership, collaborative partnerships, curriculum development, technological implementation and resource management.

The above roles require a teacher librarian to be match fit. They must be proactive in developing their library collections, be unafraid to learn new technologies, trouble shoot seen and unforseen managerial issues, understand the ins and outs of the new curriculum and set clear goals to further enhance the library and the school community. This can only be accomplished if the teacher librarian leads the library into the twenty first century, if they gain support from their principal and fellow staff and if they are willing to change.

“The teacher-librarian must become a technology role model and leader.  Failure of the library Resource Centre to meet this new mandate and failure of teacher-librarians to embrace the challenge of this new role will inevitably lead to obsolescence”. (Bens, 1999). To be facilitators of change TL’s need to know how to manage change to Keep up-to-date with current technological trends and participate in developing strategic plans/policies that are realistic, forward thinking and achievable. Only then can a TL be a true promoter of change.


Bens, S. (1999). Technology and the Changing Role of the Teacher-Librarian.   Retrieved,

Scheirer, B. (2000). The Changing Role of the Teacher-Librarian in the Twenty-first Century. Retrieved,


Strategic Planning My Thoughts

How can a teacher librarian implement a strategic plan for their library if the team they work with, or they themselves, do not believe in it? Before a “forward thinking” plan can be put into action the people developing it must believe in it. How else will it come to true fruition? The strategic plan also needs to meet the challenges in our ever changing world and serve the information/educational needs of the libraries users.

When starting to develop a strategic plan begin by including library and school staff in the decision making process. A vast array of perspectives and strong educational knowledge can be used and incorporated into the plan. A collaborative plan will also have a higher chance of success because all parties involved will feel they share possession of the policy. They will be more likely to cultivate the policy, follow through with its implementation and help to tweak/fix any problems that may arise whilst incorporating the policy.

A strategic plan should also comprise of realistic goals, support continuous learning and push for effective change. If goals are unrealistic then they will certainly fail and without support from the entire school community effective, long-lasting change will be unobtainable.


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