1 1 Leadership INTRODUCTION Leadership is a very important part of the role of today’s school librarian. School librarians have to be leaders. There is no debate about this. In order for the school library program to be an integral part of the school ecosystem, school librarians have to be leaders in their schools. In every chapter throughout this book, there are examples and ideas that, while they may not be labeled as such, demonstrate school library leadership in prac- tice. Having said that, there were many articles in School Library Connection that focus specifically on the concept of the school librarian as a leader. So, whether you are reading this chapter (or any of the other chapters in the book), think about the ways in which school librarians exhibit leadership. Leadership is advocacy. School librarians have to be at the forefront of advocat- ing for their students and their programs. They have to be out there sharing what the school library program is all about, how it impacts students, staff, and the school community, and why it is critical to have a strong school library program as part of the school ecosystem. Leadership is communication. School librarians have to be effective communi- cators. School librarians have to make sure that the school community is clearly aware of the materials and services that the school library provides. They have to communicate the important role the school library plays in today’s schools. Beyond simply communicating what the library does, they have to communicate ways in which the school library interacts with the school library community. Leadership is beyond the library. Today, school librarians can’t focus on just the library. They have to be visible outside the library space as an active part of the school, participating, for example, on school improvement committees, curriculum committees, and parent-teacher organizations. With an active voice in these ven- ues, they can not only share what is happening in the library, but also make sure that the library is included in what is happening in the school. Leadership is decision making. As the administrator of the school library, with most likely limited resources, the school librarian has to make decisions that impact the entire learning community. From purchasing decisions to policy deci- sions to program decisions, the school librarian makes decisions every day that make sure that students and staff have access to materials, instruction, and facili- ties to help them be successful.
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