Academic librarians have a very influencing position within the leadership structure and are considered as middle managers that receive information from both top leaders and staff (Cowthorne, 2010, p. 151). Unfortunately teacher librarians (TL) or library media specialist (LMS) across the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom have not had the respect that academic librarians have established and have commented that no one understands the role of the TL. A major challenge of teacher librarians over the last ten years has been to establish their status as leaders amongst the school community structure (Coombes, 2009). Barbara Coombes (2009) highlights that the library should be a centre for teaching, learning and where TLs’ lead and support educational change. If the school community’s perception of TLs is going to change TLs have to be more proactive in educating administrators, teachers and the school community about their leadership capabilities and role within the new information landscape (Coombes, 2009).
TLs as incumbent educational leaders to succeed in the new millennium they must do more than adapt to change they must lead it (Lamb & Johnson. 2010). According to Alexandratos (2012) he states that “in a school environment setting educational leadership has to drive change by improving on old ways of doing things while realising that to accomplish this they are required to consider implementing the following leadership practices like the sharing of ideas, sharing in decision making and possessing authentic ideals with its primary purpose to drive excellence in schooling.” This is underpinned by Dan Tapscotts’s vision for an open world who describes the four forces that are helpful in transformational change collaboration, transparency, sharing and empowerment (Tapscott, 2012).
To lead the change process TLs work with others by collaborating with faculty teachers and their library technicians. For TLs to lead change successfully they have to build effective teams. Effective teams is a key to transforming schools because they are essential to retaining and sustaining good teaching staff and members of teams learn easier from each other (Aguila, n.d. ).Robin Sharma (2011) states that what remarkable entrepreneurs do in building successful teams is by leveraging the talent of the team around them to multiply and accelerate their own results. In building a successful team he uses the following five principles:
1. Appreciation – appreciate your team members’ successes and talents.
2. Create a sense of belonging – make your members feel they are part of a special community.
3. Help your team members grow – challenge, mentor, develop and give your team members constructive feedback so they can grow their talents.
4. Celebrate together – celebrate with your team nano-process successes.
5. Purpose – communicate goals and share your vision.
To instigate a library change process it is necessary to develop a strategic plan. There are clear benefits in developing a strategic plan and these are indicated as follows:
1. It engages the school community in discussions how they can meet the communities expectations.
2. The school community understands the range of services.
3. It involves a selected library committee form the school community.
4. It realigns library services in response to community needs.
5. It identifies the core values of the library service.
6. It identifies areas that need improvement.
7. It defines priorities and targets.
8. It creates an ongoing framework to respond to organisational change.
(Nelson, 2008, p.4).
TL’s apart from managing change they must have well thought out advocacy plans that convey pertinent information about the library to the school community (Martin, 2012, p. 55).When TLs develop advocacy plans it is an essential part of their leadership responsibility (Martin, 2012, p. 60). TLs show leadership by using advocacy plans in a continuous effective communication process to constituents and this is how they also promote the value of school library programmes (Martin, 2012, p. 60). A well though out advocacy plan connects the school community by involving them in meaningful activities that enhance understanding, increase awareness and generates a patron fellowship that supports the library mission and vision (Martin, 2012, pp . 60-61).
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
Alexandratos, D. J. (2012). Reflection of educational leadership ETL504. Retrieved from http://wp.me/p2hojX-b7
Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2010). Advocacy: Change: Innovative Practices & Evolving Roles. The School Library Media Specialist. Retrieved from
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
Coombes, B. (2009). Challenges for teacher librarians in the 21st century: Part 3 – Status and role. Retrieved from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/challenges_for_teacher_librarianship.html
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. E-book.
Nelson, S. (2008). Part one: The planning process. Strategic Planning for Results (pp. 3-139). Chicago: ALA Editions. E-book
Sharma, R. (2011). How to build a winning team – 5 best team building practices. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/ckEOQKmZPlI
Tapscott, D. (2012). Four principles for the open world. Ted Ideas worth spreading.Retrieved March 15, 2013 from YouTub: http://www.ted.com/talks/don_tapscott_four_principles_for_the_open_world_1.html