When I think of leadership, I think of the principals who I have previously worked with, especially when I was in Japan. Most principals were very conservative and did not act even when the school absolutely needed changes to improve the students’ learning environment. Only one principal was fearless of challenging the status quo. I do not think he was familiar with the concepts of transformational leadership; however his attitudes to teachers and students followed the concepts. For example, providing clear vision to prepare students as members of society, encouraging teachers to develop new ideas and showing his communication skills as an effective listener and questioner.
According to Marzano, Waters & McNulty (2005) there are many leadership theories that impact on school leaders. Especially transformational leadership and transactional leadership have been discussed in education field.
Transformational leadership seems to be well adapted to leadership in the library environment. The Australian Library and Information Association & Australian School Library Association (ALIA & ASLA) states “the excellent teacher librarians (TL) provide effective and transformational leadership to school library and information services staff” (ALIA & ASLA, 2004) as the leadership meets the challenges of this rapid changing world (Bass & Avolio as cited in Marzano, Waters & McNulty 2005).
However the Teacher Librarian Role Statement by School Library Association of South Australia (SLASA) (2003) states that a qualified TL must lead in all aspects of their role such as “Literature Promotion” and “Curriculum Involvement” if they are to be viewed as leader within the organisation.
Thus before playing the role of leader, TLs need to enlighten the school communities as to the various aspects of their position as the role of TLs is often not recognised properly. Without the broad recognition as to the role of the TL it will be difficult to take a leadership position. Despite the fact that the importance of the school library and their impact on student outcomes has been stated in media releases such as School libraries 21C (NSW Department of Education & Training) (NSW DET, 2010) the value of TLs remains poorly understood. This perception is further exacerbated by the fact that many school libraries are unfortunately managed by unqualified librarians (Tarica, 2010). Why do many schools not employ qualified TLs? Often this may simply be a budget issue, as budget is limited and there is strong competition for limited resources. However if TLs increase and improve their value and the school understand the value, it makes winning in budget cut battle more likely (Tarulli 2005)
How should TLs establish their value in the school community? It is argued that building productive relationship and communicating with all members of the school community, including students will facilitate the task. Since productive relationship underpin trust and trust is an element of leadership (Sergiovanni, 2005), strong relationships will increase the perception of value within the community.
There is the suggestion that if there is well- established relationship, it is very strong catalyst to support TLs as a leader.
I thought only people in high positions such as principals are leaders. I have not worked as a TL, however I have looked back to my experiences of leadership. This is just a starting point to understanding leadership. I would like to further extend my knowledge through studying this subject.
Australian Library and Information Association & Australian School Library Association (ALIA/ASLA) (2004) Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians
Retrieved April 2 2013 from
Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). Some theories and theorists on leadership in School leadership that works: from research to results (pp. 13-27). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ;.Retrieved March 7, 2013 from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10089219
NSW Department of Education & Training. (2010). School libraries 21C. Retrieved March 20, 2012 from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/assets/pdf/21c_report.pdf
School Library Association of South Australia (SLASA) (2003) Teacher Librarian Role Statement Retrieved March, 30, 2013 from http://www.slasa.asn.au/Advocacy/docs/rolestatementslasa.doc
Sergiovanni,T. (2005). The Virtues of Leadership. The Educational Forum, 69(Winter), 112-123. Retrieved March 16, 2013, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/7375166/Sergiovanni-Thomas-Virtues-of-Leadership
Tarica, E. (2010, August 6). Library Specialists Being Shelved. The Age. Retrieved from http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/library-specialists-being-shelved-20100806-11o9t.html
Tarulli, L (2005) Taking the Leadership Initiative: How You Can Fight the Budget Cut Battle in the Profession of Teacher Librarianship, A Journal of the Canadian Association for School Libraries (CASL) 24(3) 63-72