This unit has really helped me appreciate the importance of the teacher librarian within the school setting and their role as a leader. At the start of the unit I thought I had a good understanding of the teacher librarian as a leader, I reflected on my new role as a teacher librarian and what I do on a day to day basis. Now, that I’m at the conclusion of the unit I realize that this understanding was just the tip of the iceberg. A teacher librarian is in a very good position to influence and instigate change within a school and have a significant positive impact.
In reviewing my previous blog posts, in particular Thinking about Leadership (Cain, 2016, March 21) I stated that an effective leader:
- understands or seeks to understand the culture of the school,
- sets long term goals in line with the vision of the school,
- has secure and practical knowledge of ICT and how it can be implemented (Green, 2011).
- can lead learning and look for innovations within the teaching and learning pedagogy of the school
- collaborates with staff both informally and formally
- is open (Cain, 2016, March 21)
I still believe this to be true, but it is so much more than this, learning about strategic plans and applying the STEEP process (Cain, 2016, May 19) to my current school, helped to reinforce the decision making that goes along with the role of the teacher librarian.
The STEEP process forced me to really think about our library and where we are headed, it also highlighted the importance of having a strategic plan- something that we do not have and need if we are to remain a successful and prominent part of the school. It helps a library to develop and acts as a guide for achieving its goals (Wong, 2012, p22). As well as this the teacher librarian should ensure that the library program remains current and that everything the library does is about maximising student learning (Wong, 2012 p.22). I know I now need to work towards creating a strategic plan that reflects our library and our future plans.
In my reflective analysis for Assignment 1, I commented that the teacher librarian will be an instructional leader (Cain, 2016, April 11). This is of course one important aspect of the teacher librarian- they do instruct students and they also play an integral role in instructing staff and running professional development seminars and workshops. In my current role, I’m finding this aspect to be a continuous part, however the staff workshops are usually done in an informal manner and on a case by case basis. This allows for greater flexibility and ensures that the staff are integrating technology into their lesson (Starkey, 2012).
I’m realising now, that the teacher librarian wears many leadership hats within their role and it is something that is continuously evolving as new technologies are implemented as well as changes to the curriculum as it adapts to 21st Century learning. A teacher librarian is a:
- curriculum leader- knowing the curriculum in all subjects;
- an instructional leader- able to teach students and provide staff development;
- a transformative leader- share in the vision of the library and what it’s trying to achieve.
Despite the many hats, I think a teacher librarian can only be successful if they have the support of the executive committee/ Principal of the school. Again, if there is a strategic plan, a vision and mission statement for the library that has been written by teacher librarian in consultation with other key leaders of the school, such as the Principal, it helps to promote that common vision and united goal. The teacher librarian can then lead change, but the emphasis must be on learning. It all comes down to the positive impact the library can have on student learning outcomes.
I now know, that in my role of teacher librarian I need to lead. I need to be an effective leader; the question is how do I do this? This is occurring through collaboration with key teachers within the school. Currently I’m working with the Year 7 teachers and we are integrating digital literacy skills through their HASS program. I am also working with other HASS teachers to promote the information search process, and effective searching. In collaborating with the teachers, they are not only improving their teaching and learning program but they are also gaining informal professional development as they learn to see new ways of integrating technology.
Whilst this unit has certainly opened my eyes to the role of a teacher librarian, and whilst I am now more aware of how I advocate and promote the library I’m also aware of the fact that I still have a lot to learn.
Cain, R. (2016, March 21). Thinking about leadership. Scorched Page. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/scorchedpage/2016/03/21/thinking-about-leadership/
Cain, R. (2016, May 19). Applying the STEEP process. Scorched Page. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/scorchedpage/2016/05/19/applying-the-steep-process/
Cain, R. (2016, April 11). Part B reflective critical analysis. Scorched Page. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/scorchedpage/2016/04/11/part-b-reflective-critical-analysis/
Green, G. (2011). Learning leadership through the school library. Access, 25(4), 22-26. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/publications/access.aspx
Starkey, L. (2012). Teaching and learning in the digital age. New York, NY: Routledge.
Wong, T. (2012). Strategic long-range planning. Library Media Connection 31 (2)