Archive | May, 2014

Assess 2 – Future Proofing & Critical Reflection

25 May

Critical Reflection

I have always seen the Teacher Librarian role somewhat from a stereotypical point of view. This course and especially ETL 504 – Teacher Librarian as Leader has changed my mindset. This subject has extended my knowledge and understanding of the role of a Teacher Librarian and has opened doors to many possibilities and opportunities.

Initially I did not see how being a Teacher Librarian could possibly be a leader. I had difficulty defining my leadership capacity. My definition translated in terms of having an assistant staff member in the library (Abiwahab, 2014a). My predisposed idea of leadership has always been from the traditionally structured, organisational and hierarchical perspective. At school, I viewed leaders as being the Principal, Deputy Principals and Head Teachers, all positions that promote a sense of power (Abiwahab, 2014b; Collay, 2011; Youngs, 2009). The readings within this subject have highlighted the many aspects of leadership that I did not realise. It changed my viewpoint on how I can actually lead, not from the top but from the middle. Transformative leadership models appear more effective in the 21st Century work environment (Kotter, n.d), as they distribute leadership capacities and empowers staff.

This assignment in particular has highlighted the importance of becoming professionally visible and credible and the need to promote my role as a Teacher Librarian and leader, the expertise of library staff and the library as a learning hub for the school community (Sergiovanni, 1984). In order to achieve this, it is necessary for the Teacher Librarian to:

  • Gain advocacy from the Principal concerning the library
  • Collaborate with the school community
  • Communicate library direction and achievements
  • Understand and resource for the new Australian Curriculum and the 21st Century learner
  • Understand the psychology of change and model and support change efforts within the school (Kotter, n.d)
  • Develop professional documents pertaining to policies and strategic short and long-term plans.

The creation of a library vision and strategic plan continues to develop the professionalism, credibility and accountability of the Teacher Librarian’s role within the school community. My previous thoughts on mission and vision statements were somewhat negative. I tended to view them as pompous wordy statements that did not truly reflect an organisations stance. The readings have highlighted the importance of having a well written vision statement which supports and complements the schools overall mission and vision (JISC Infonet, 2012).

Additional to the vision statement is the importance of a library strategic plan which aligns itself with the schools overall strategic direction. A strategic plan sets the library’s future direction and details how this can be achieved. I have developed a better understanding of how a library strategic plan can demonstrate an image of professionalism, credibility and accountability and how this reflects on the role of the Teacher Librarian (Worldbank, n.d.).

This subject has demonstrated that, a good library vision statement and strategic plan can:

  • Set future direction
  • Change community perception of the library’s functionality
  • Generate community understanding of the library’s purpose
  • Project a positive and professional image of the library and Teacher Librarian
  • Depict the Teacher Librarian’s accountability
  • Establish the library as an asset to the school community
  • Demonstrate how the library will assist in enhancing student outcomes.

The readings detailing the processes of STEEP, SWOT and SMART have provided clear guidelines of how these tools can be utilised to implement change and strategic planning in a systematic and effective way (Halfpintofwisdom, 2011; Olsen, 2008a; Olsen, 2008b). It has allowed me to see the preliminary analysis from a perspective that is not so daunting and which can be broken down into opportunity seeking segments rather than a negative challenge of overcoming problems. I have a new found confidence to continually develop and refine the strategic direction of the school library to meet the learning community needs within an ever changing environment.

Overall, the major impact on me is the idea of leading from the middle and how a Teacher Librarian can effectively engage in leadership within the school community (Haycock, 2010). Effective leadership encompasses a combination of charisma and qualities that draw others in to your vision. It promotes collaboration and a desire to move collectively into the future. To be effective as a leader, a Teacher Librarian must consider and action the following:

  • Develop a vision
  • Develop and implement a strategic plan
  • Gain Principal and colleague buy in
  • Build relationships through collaboration and team work
  • Embrace change and support others through the process
  • Collect and use data driven evaluation to guide the future
  • Guide and drive benefits and programs that reach towards the common goal of enhancing student outcomes.

As a Teacher Librarian, I am uniquely positioned for leadership and have abundant opportunities to display and develop those skills across a wide range of activities within the school community. It is necessary for me to continue to develop exemplary interpersonal skills and character traits which will assist in embracing opportunities to effectively lead and support change. I feel my confidence has grown and I now have a clearer understanding, direction and knowledge base which will contribute to further developing my skills and expertise as a Teacher Librarian.

References

Abiwahab, J. (2014a). ETL 504 Teacher Librarian as Leader. Topic Three. Leadership for Learning. Forum Post. Charles Sturt University.

Abiwahab, J. (2014b). ETL 504. Assess 1 – Concept Map and Critical Analysis. Libraryescapades. Retrieved from: https://libraryescapades.wordpress.com/etl-504/

Collay, M. (2011). Teaching is leading. Everyday Teacher Leadership: Taking Action Where You Are, pp. 75-108. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Halfpintofwisdom, (2011). Strategic Planning for School Libraries. Slideshare.net. Retrieved from: http://www.slideshare.net/halfpintofwisdom/strategic-planning-for-libraries

Haycock, S. (2010). Leadership from the Middle: Building Influence for change. In Coatney, S. (Ed.). The many faces of school library leadership. (pp. 1-12) Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited.

JISC infoNet, (2012). Defining and articulating your vision, mission and values. JISC infoNet. Retrieved from http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/mission-vision-values/

Kotter, J. (n.d). Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved from: http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps

Olsen, E. (2008a). SWOT Analysis: How to perform one for your organisation. On Strategy HQ. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNXYI10Po6A&list=PLF47BA7BC6BDA46B1

Olsen, E. (2008b). How to set SMART goals. On Strategy HQ. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uThBb3kGf4k&list=PLF47BA7BC6BDA46B1#t=15

Sergiovanni, T.J. (1984). Leadership and Excellence in Schooling. Educational Leadership, February, 4-13. Retrieved from, http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198402_sergiovanni.pdf

Worldbank, (n.d). Strategic Planning: a 10 step guide. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTAFRREGTOPTEIA/Resources/mosaica_10_steps.pdf

Youngs, H. (2009). (Un)Critical times: Situating distributed leadership in the field. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 41(4), 377-389. Retrieved from, http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1080/00220620903211588

ETL 504 Mission and Vision Statements

18 May

Locate school and library vision and mission statements. Can you tell the difference between them? Is there a clear delineation?

Locating a school and library vision and mission statement was difficult. I finally came across a school vision statement and a library mission statement. The more I read the statements and compared them to the readings; I seemed to become more and more confused.

Neither one was prominent in official documents and reports and hence does not really promote the core business of the school. The school vision states, ‘A community building pathways to success’ however without a clear definitive mission statement this is rather broad and generic and leaves the vision statement open to interpretation. The library mission statement is more detailed, however the sentence structure is very long and wordy. It concludes with the following statement, ‘Additionally, it supports the school in generating responsible and confident students who create and shape their own learning environment’. This last sentence in the library mission statement can be considered as very broadly alluding to the schools vision statement.

Overall, I personally do not see the school and the library being linear in their statements. The Library places its emphasis on the school learning community; however it still appears somewhat disjointed when considering the school’s vision. It appears as though the library is somewhat a separate entity within the school environment and because of where it is situated, the assumption is made that both the school and library are working towards the core business of education.

I feel that I will be investigating this further in the very near future in order to ensure that future library and school mission and vision statements are more cohesive in nature.

 

References

JISC infoNet, (2012). Defining and articulating your vision, mission and values. JISC infoNet. Retrieved from http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/mission-vision-values/

JISC infoNet, (2012). What is a mission statement? JISC infoNet. Retrieved from http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/mission-vision-values/mission-statement/

JISC infoNet, (2012). What is a vision statement? JISC infoNet. Retrieved from http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/mission-vision-values/vision-statement/

ETL 504 S.T.E.E.P – Environmental Factor

18 May

Consider the environmental tactic of STEEP. Apply this environmental scan to your situation.

 

The focus of the environmental aspect of STEEP relates to how libraries lead the way on green issues and the changing climate, scarce resources and buying locally.

At my school library, we recycle paper and try to limit the amount of printing that occurs. We re-use paper as scrap paper for students and staff (provided there is no sensitive information on it). We also try and recycle any disposed books by taking off any plastic covers and disposing them in the recycle bin.

We haven’t yet moved towards a digital library; however this will be a focus for the future. In stating this, I believe there still is a place for physical books and we would aim to have a combination. Digital libraries will have other impacts in terms of technological availability and accessibility, storage capacity and powering devices. Powering such devices and the necessity to maintain cool temperatures for servers then reflect on the carbon footprint we create.

The ever changing climate of the 21st Century has implications on how the library functions and services the learning community. The digital push may reduce some of the resources into scarcity; these resources include physical books and people.

My attempt to buy locally is sometimes hindered by the current practice and procedures of departmental protocols. I recently bought a book from a small home grown publisher based in Western Australia. I ran into troubles when administration staff questioned how to contact the publisher to place the order and who to make the cheque for. Everything was to be completed online. This highlighted that when procedures and the current purchase climates do not correspond, issues arise.