This subject has been a learning curve from day one, first concept map, first formal report, first individual vision statement even through I have sat through a number of committees involved in their creation; it was thought-provoking to plan the direction of a library, even one of my own imagination.
Thinking back over the subject in general, I see leadership in schools much differently than I initially did, my first post referred, that as I was not in a (official) leadership position my influence would be minimal and limited to that of the library. Currently I view my style as ‘shared leadership’ by means of ‘guiding from the middle’. This involves my instigating meaningful communication among participants, while providing a ‘safe hub’ that supports staff and students to broaden their idea of what they can achieve and then encourage them to go beyond.
I still feel that my leadership style incorporates diverse approaches and theories as required, adapting to varying roles as the need arises and the circumstances presents themselves, however my leadership is still on a learning curve that has yet to peak or even start to feel comfortable.
In the online tutorial I stated that one interpretation of leadership is that of a salesman, where the leader is selling an idea to the individual or group, steering them into the direction the leader wants them to go, ‘selling’ them on the benefits of the vision until they ‘buy’ into the product and make it ‘theirs’. This observation is extremely undeveloped, but as an ex-shoe salesman it provided me with a foundation to work upon in developing my personal leadership style, however I believe that the goal of transformational leadership is still an aspiration for future implementation (Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005).
I had an uncomplicated perception of the role of the TL being restricted to managing their own staff, being an advisor to teaching staff and as a guide and mentor to the students through the establishment of information literacy assignments that, (hopefully) will enlighten students to become information users.
I have since realized that leadership emanates from an array of forms and is an acquired skill, to be explained and enhanced through use, and that all staff have the potential to be leaders if empowered from above, and sometimes even if not empowered.
The information deluge is changing Libraries from a static repository of limited information to a conduit transmitting vastly more information than could ever be stored in a physical library or interacted successfully with by unguided students. To enable this era of mobile information within schools, we as TLs are required to be leaders supporting the innovation and change required to exist in 21st century learning.
The TL, in regards to new technologies, involves a perspective that is not ‘just’ librarian but is ‘also’ a teacher. By developing our own knowledge and proficiencies in new technologies, to match those of our ‘digital native’ students, we are better placed to accept technology, mobile or otherwise is a primary ingredient in how our students receive and process information. As we cannot ignore it or hope it will go away, I intend as a TL (ultimately) to embrace the new and be a leader of innovation and change, calaborating and educating teachers to integrate 2.0 tools into the curriculum rather than include them as an add-on (Pfundstein, 2003).
I now know that the role of the TL, as a leader within the school environs is broader than I had previously imagined. The scope of the TL role is limited only by the interactions created through negotiation, communication and collaboration with my peers; through advocacy we can produce achievements that surpass the individual results of each of us (Dubrin & Dalglish, 2003).
While not yet in my desired position of Teacher Librarian within a school, I believe that when I achieve these goals I will be able to influence change by ‘leading from the middle’. By using what I have learned within ETL504, I have the ability to lead and inspire others from the library and throughout the school (Cawthorne, 2010).
If I have accepted any concept through studying ETL504, it is the fact that change only comes through communication with others, and change is the factor that presents us as TLs with the new and the improved. The concept that is inciting our careers is the change to the “perceived image of the role of the teacher-librarian, from that of keeper of the books to that of a learning-centered curriculum expert” (Miller, 2005,). As Teacher Librarians we must continue to support and more often than not lead the drive for advancements and improvements within and beyond our disciplines, in order to support the future learning of our students into the 21st century.
The fifth law of Ranganathan’s five laws of library science states, “The Library Is a Growing Organism”. This statement reinforces my awareness that a Library and the Teacher Librarians within it must be part of a transformative organisation constantly adapting to new social conditions, technological developments, and the changing needs of our clientele (Mitchell, 2007).
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 from http://citeulike.org/artical/6724719
Dubrin, A. J. & Dalglish, C. (2003). Leadership, an Australian focus. Milton, QLD.: John
Wiley and Sons Australia
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 from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10089219
Miller, K. (2005). Novice Teachers' Perceptions of the Role of the Teacher-librarian in
Information Literacy. School Libraries in Canada (17108535), 24(3), 1.
Retrieved from Ebscohost
Mitchell, W. B. (2007). Reflections on Academic Libraries in the 21st Century. Journal of
Access Services. 5(1/2), 1-9. Doi: 10.1080/15367960802197509
Pfundstein, T. E. (2003). The use of technology that affect how teachers teach and
students learn. In A. D. Sheekey (Ed.) How to ensure Ed/tech is not oversold and underused. (pp. 73-94). Oxford: Scarecrow Education.