The practice of leadership in a school library, my understanding …


It is my belief, that before anything else, to be successful school leaders teacher librarians must begin with clear goals and a strong sense of purpose. Focused TL’s will confidently deliver exemplary library services and implement quality library programs that enrich teaching and improve student learning. Effective teacher librarians must also lead for change, in a ubiquitous and ever-changing technology environment, TL’s must be attentive and adaptable to the shifting needs of the learning community and, adept and proactive in making the necessary decisions and changes required to achieve their goals.

It is my understanding that teacher librarians can effectively practice leadership in school libraries by adhering to the following principles:

Lead self for learning

Continual professional and personal development.

TL’s understand the importance of continuous improvement and self-development and commit to sustaining high levels of professional knowledge. Leading TL’s keep up to date with current & future trends in literacy, technology, information retrieval and information literacy education & implementation. Proactive TL’s become actively involved in outside networks (join groups, subscribe to blogs, attend conferences) in order to learn from others as well as share ideas and knowledge.

Sustain knowledge of curriculum and community.

Effective TL’s “Seek first to understand, & then to be understood”(Covey in Marzano et al, 2005, p.21); in order to determine the teaching and learning needs of the community the TL must be proficient in attaining and maintaining knowledge of school curriculum, culture &community. TL’s must be skilful at observing, collecting and analysing data to ensure library programs and resources reflect the needs of all students and teachers.

Lead others for learning and change

Promote and model a culture of openness, sharing, collaboration and empowerment.

As authentic leaders, TL’s actively nurture and advocate collaborative, open relationships with teachers and stakeholders in order to:

  • Create and implement quality, well-resourced library programs that result in positive student learning outcomes.
  • Build viable collections relevant to the changing needs of users
  • Share knowledge, information, expertise and intelligence
  • Promote and maximise library services

TL’s demonstrate leadership by strongly supporting and encouraging instructional partnerships that integrate collaborative planning and teaching opportunities; partnerships that facilitate personal learning and promote the sharing of professional knowledge and expertise.

TL’s lead the way in creating positive learning environments and empowering others to be independent, effective users of information and technology by providing training & information sessions to all in the learning community, by instigating collaborative learning projects, creating online learning resources (wikis & blogs, Google docs) and using social media to communicate and inform.

Teacher librarians model transparent leadership by overtly promoting library services, clearly communicating common goals and involving others in the development of policy and processes.  To foster continual improvement and growth and to engender a sense of ownership and commitment to the library program, TL’s encourage constructive dialogue and endorse input from all members of the teaching & learning community. Providing opportunities for others to be included in the evaluation and review of library, programs and practices demonstrates flexibility, open-mindedness and the ability to adapt to the changing needs of today’s education environment.

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

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