David the TL

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I am a leader! (Ass 2/B)

Yes, it’s true…
You are allowed to go back to this post in which I whinge and complain that I hate the idea of being a leader in my school – but please remember we are all allowed to change our minds! ūüėČ

So what brought about this change?
Three things: (1) Chatting in online uni forums with other TLs; (2) my course’s set readings which propounded the importance of leadership; and (3) my final assignment which required me to dream up a vision for my workplace.

(1) Communication is important anyway, but when studying via correspondence it is vital. On July 19 (Module 1) for example, I wrote: “Still struggling if I even want to be a leader anyway. Part of me just wants to work quietly in an admin office or somewhere and then go home. :)” This was commented on by one person who agreed with me but pointed out the reasons why she liked her job. This made me realise that my issues with various parts of my job should not impact on my ability or desire to lead – they are two different things (and perhaps, leadership would make the rest of my job more palatable…?)
This was compounded a little later (module 2) when I put on another load of whingeing. Some agreed with me, but one person wrote: “You could be the ‘Chosen One’ and ignite the fire of collaboration and vision from the library at your school! Imagine what it would be like!” Clearly I needed either to get myself fired up or just quit. Leadership became the fuel for my fire!

(2) In the interests of space I won’t list or quote all the readings this semester that affected me and my desire to lead. I will have to mention a few, though. This quote I have used in a previous post but it really made me wake up. “Innovation is open to every man, woman, and child. It requires an inquisitive mind intent on solving an existing problem.” It is very easy to point the finger at the Principal or your supervisor when good things don’t happen at work, but why not take it on yourself? Don’t be a whinger (yes, I need to listen to my own advice) be a doer! Make what you want to see happen, happen!
Next, according to Collay, “leading is creating better opportunities for learning [for both students and staff].” (2011, p.85) “Leadership” is not sitting behind a desk, pushing papers, it is looking after your core business and the future of our country – the students we have been given to teach!
Lastly, I read that good leadership must be transformational ‚Äď which is leadership fueled by the goal of working for change. Without this, we will fail to guide the staff and students towards success in the 21st century (Marzano et al, 2005, p.16) I realised that leadership was a dynamic process, not a dictatorial one. Good leaders have a vision of where things need to be and then guide their organisations towards that vision. Yes! I want that!

(3) Next came the final assignment where I had to create a 40 word vision statement for my school library and outline the process for getting there. This was the most practical and enthusing assignment I have done thus far. After coming to terms with my library’s mission¬†and current situation, and by setting goals for what I want to see the library become, I: fueled my fire (see 1) and put into place my turn to be a transformational leader (see 2). My vision statement encapsulates all that I want the library to be in three years and that enthuses me to move forward as a TL and as a leader. I want the library to be engaging, relevant and user-friendly for my 21st century students – those I have been given to aid – and ensure they can become the interactive, communicative and adaptable learners (and people) that our information heavy and savvy world requires of them.

I believe it is an honour to have this role and I can’t wait to see my visions find fruition.




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

Innovation Takes Practice More Than Talent. (2013, January 30). Retrieved September 29, 2013, from http://www.redthreadthinking.com/innovation-takes-practice-more-than-talent/

Harding, D. (2013, July 19). Thoughts after reading and questionnaire. [Online forum
comment]. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201360_W_D/page/4c0338bd-9a89-4115-003e-4ac35e67e81e

Harding, D. (2013, July 30). Innovation. [Online forum
comment]. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201360_W_D/page/4933d5cc-acf1-483d-80b1-d103046118f2

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 September 29, 2013, from: http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10089219

Neal, R. (2013, July 31). Innovation. [Online forum
comment]. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201360_W_D/page/4933d5cc-acf1-483d-80b1-d103046118f2

Neal, R. (2013, July 19). Thoughts after reading and questionnaire. [Online forum
comment]. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201360_W_D/page/4c0338bd-9a89-4115-003e-4ac35e67e81e


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So, apparently organisations (including libraries) need to continually change. If they don’t, they become stagnant, old-fashioned, irrelevant… you get the idea.
The problem is, it’s so hard to change! It is also so very hard to lead change. In my school library I have made countless changes since arriving, but most of these are small and unnoticed by the other teaching staff and the students. What I’m really going to find challenging is when I feel the need to introduce change on a far-reaching, higher scale. To change the fundamental ways in which the library, or teaching within the library, works will meet with lots of opposition, I’m sure.

This video lays out a few really interesting points – that there are four reactions people have to change, and gives some ways on how to ensure change will happen within the people you lead.

When change has taken place because of or around me, I have DEFINITELY seen Critics – those who don’t like the idea (or the idea of change itself) and try to persuade others to agree. I have also certainly seen Victims – those who complain about the effort to change or who worry that the change will be detrimental to them. Then there are Bystanders who are blase about the whole thing. They might change, they might not – who the heck cares – but you better not ask me to do anything, you don’t own me!!!!!!! Finally, the Navigators (those who grab the change and run with it) are certainly out there but much rarer. When these people see the benefits and rave about how effective the change was it can be very infectious to others.
So, to make change occur (to ensure you have lots of Navigators around) the video suggests: Communicate the threat of not changing (love this, especially in an educational environment where people don’t want their students to be ‘left behind’), involve everyone, celebrate the successes, minimise worry by constantly communicating, and be as transparent as possible (yes! So many times I have seen school leaders dictate change and then fade away into the woodwork – who wants to work towards their goals, then?!)

So what changes am I contemplating? I’m not sure yet… But I feel that schools and libraries must adapt and change or become increasingly irrelevant to today’s connected students. I don’t know what the future looks like, but I want to be there. As has been said:

“Innovation is open to every man, woman, and child. It requires an inquisitive mind intent on solving an existing problem.”

I can’t create the future, but I can try and change how it is in the present to get us there!

Quote from: Innovation Takes Practice More Than Talent. (2013, January 30). ‚ÄĒ. Retrieved from http://www.redthreadthinking.com/innovation-takes-practice-more-than-talent/

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My STEEP library

Have you ever done an environmental scan of your school/library/life/swimming pool? No? Neither have I. I am, however, about to do it for the school library for which I work therein. According to the website halfpintofwisdom (no, it isn’t full of advice for bartenders), it’s a good idea to reflect upon and evaluate your school library using the acronym STEEP. (Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic, Political) so here we go…!

S: My school library is definitely the place to be at lunch time. I often have a fifth to a quarter of the student body inside with me. The library has become a place to be, not just to learn. This was not what it used to be like. It was dead. A place you didn’t go to for fear of being shushed. At lunch, we have reading, drawing, gaming and computer use going on simultaneously. The library has also become a place for families, not just students and staff. This is through my family borrowing program and parent volunteers.
T: The library is the ICT hub of the school in the students’ and staff’s heads as well as in practise! This is definitely my big focus and the future library will be much more than what it is becoming (a place where computers and ebooks are used.) A fundamental change is coming and I can’t wait!
E: Comfortable, accessible, user-friendly. I have strived to make the library space “make sense.” I have also introduced these things called “chairs” and “rugs” which are nice to sit on, apparently. In the future, I would love some form of cubicle or dividing system so different groups can use the space simultaneously.
E: Budget bigger, please, though I have found some creative ways to save money. What I spend on has also fundamentally shifted over the past year – used less on books (especially teacher’s resources) and more on the current learning needs of students. Unfortunately, I can’t see this expanding with Liberal policies such as “Gonski sux” and “Local Schools Local Decisions” coming in – and I can’t blame the Principal if she decides fixing a broken door is more important than buying a new book that may or may not be borrowed.
P: Change avoidance is very high amongst our staff but this is slowly changing. My team-teaching and collaborative planning may also come under threat as budget cuts may mean I become an RFF teacher next year. Without national partnerships money next year our school will also have less need of temp teachers and less AP positions. Who knows what the future chang of the exec team may bring to the library.

Hopes, dreams, passions, books, other things, school libraries – I salute you and your STEEPNESS!

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Mission or vision?

Something I’ve realised recently is that a Teacher Librarian, and their library, need to have a vision.
Not just, ‘oh, I wish I had new shelves,’ or ‘we really need a Graphic Novel section,’ but a clearly defined view of what the library will look like, feel like, act like, be used like into the future.
And this vision shouldn’t just be based on self-formed opinions or perceived needs, but it must be based on the needs of the students, staff, families, and be based on educational and library trends, theories and thoughts.

Something I’ve also realised recently is that a Teacher Librarian, and their library, need a mission.
A purpose, a point, a statement that says we they even exist. To say ‘to help students learn,’ or ‘to instill a love of reading,’ sound like missions, but to me they are way too airy-fairy. What do you do that no other staff member or resource collection offer to the students, staff, and families? Why do you and and your library have a place at this school? What is the point of you being there at all?

Both these ideas need to be crystalised, shared and evaluated. If you don’t know what you are, you won’t know where you are going. If you don’t know where you are going, why are you here?


What, me lead? (ETL504 Ass1/B)

When it was first mentioned that I would be studying a subject on ‘the TL as a leader’ I groaned. There were two reasons:

  1. I don’t want to be a leader
  2. Surely imposing leadership on a TL is just another way to try and justify their position on staff?

I have become quite cynical over time. With budget cuts and the invention of this thing called ‘The Internet’ sending death knells across the school library landscape, I was sure that enforcing leadership responsibilities upon TLs was just a way to empower them to fight for their jobs. But besides this, I just don’t want to be a leader at the moment. It’s hard enough surviving day to day than to take on all that responsibility!

Angry Leader

How I feel as a teacher, let alone as a leader…

But look, I gave the subject a chance (I’m a very nice person) and I’ve come to the half-way point now, feeling a lot more satisfied about my role as a leader in my workplace.¬†I think the main problem was that how I envisioned a leader is not what a leader should be like at all…

I have found that a school leader should be:

  • Transformational, not transactional!¬†This means, as summarised by Marzano et al (2005, pp.16-18), that a strong leader will not dictate what needs to happen, but ask and answer the question ‘why?’ It is a style of leadership that is focused on changing processes, systems, attitudes and outcomes for the better. It is dynamic! it is also focused on leading as opposed to simply managing.
  • An empowering leader, not a manger! Leadership roles seemed so boring to me before. Sign this form, fill out this roster, tell off this dissident. However, according to leadership theorists such as Kotter, ‘Management makes systems of people and technology work well day after day…Leadership creates the systems that managers manage and changes them in fundamental ways to take advantage of opportunities and to avoid hazards.’ (n.d., para.6) Yes! That’s what I want to do!
  • Purposeful not pointless! I have seen leaders get bogged down in the day-to-day running of a school. A true leader, however, empowers and enthuses others to follow them on a journey towards higher student outcomes. It is why we are here. It is why we are paid. If we don’t do this (whether we are ‘leaders’ or not) we should go home. Simply put by¬†Collay, ‚Äėleading is creating better opportunities for learning.‚Äô (2011, p.85)

So, described like that, I’m happy to be a leader. A dynamic and purposeful one that strives to make a coherent team of teachers follow me into the future, guided by the desire to have every student taste greater success, constantly evaluating what we have done in the past in order to become even better!

…now I just need a pay rise to de-stress me after taking on all this extra responsibility…


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

Kotter, J. (n.d.). Kotter International РChange Leadership. Kotter International РInnovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/change-leadership

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 27 January, 2013 from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10089219

Word count: 490


Critical reflection (Assignment 5, Part B)

How has my view of the role of a TL changed over the course of this subject?

A LOT! No wait… NOT A LOT! No wait… A LOT!

Let me elucidate. I came into this course after only having held my TL position for a year, with the crazy idea that my career was endangered. I didn’t think TLs would become extinct soon, but perhaps within a generation. My reasons for this were based primarily on the fact that…

Music easily and cheaply available online = death of CD shops
Films easily and cheaply available online = death of video shops
Video games easily and cheaply available online = gaming shops are disappearing
Information is EVERYWHERE = who needs me???

Studying my TL course it quickly became apparent to me that many people think this is the case (though some won’t admit it) and believe that the TL must evolve and adapt or¬†else¬†librarians¬†might start losing their jobs and that would be a disaster! I have already blogged about my thoughts on this and how I reckon people need to chill out (like here and here and here.) I believe that 21st century learners have got it better than anyone ever did and that we should see the internet, e-books and so on, as great opportunities, not threats.

This¬†dissatisfaction¬†with TL literature came to boiling point in my previous post. There I stated that after having read such discussions on information literacy as found in Abilock (2004), Bundy (2004) and Langford (1998), I decided that in reality all people were doing was placing old-fashioned teaching methods and ‘library skills’ under new, funky titles in order to sound hip and relevant while in actual fact, changing very little other than the place where their research skills teaching occurs (wikipedia not encyclopedia, for example.)

This is how I felt. Wake up to yourself, people! (wordassociations.net)

This is how I felt. Wake up to yourself, people!

I read articles on Guided Inquiry and constructivist teaching such as Sheerman’s (2011) and thought to myself, ‘I already do this. Sure, I have lots to learn and I’ve had successes and failures, but I already know the path TLs are supposed to be on.’ I was upset that GI was painted as being ‘for TLs’ when really it’s for all teachers. I was upset that TLs were trying to carve out their own niche in order to survive (GI is OUR job), when really what they need to do to ensure survival is to adapt,¬†perhaps being on no different a job description than all the¬†other¬†teachers in the school, but becoming the expert.

Then Carol Kuhlthau came along.

Kuhlthau makes me feel like this. (wordassociations.net)

Kuhlthau makes me feel like this.

Once I’d settled down and acknowledged that if I am a TL I might as well do the best job I can, Kuhlthau’s ISP model really scratched where I itched. (I have eczema.)

The model can be seen in overview here. It is more than just HOW to set up a GI task or HOW to show students how to use the internet or HOW to ensure you teach information literacy. This model shows the teacher what is happening as a student completes a task on emotive, cognitive and active levels. It considers the whole learner. By knowing what I will see, I will see whether I am really teaching and whether my students are really learning. By understanding that¬†successful¬†teaching and learning will look the same no matter the set task, I know that…

A: My students will be learning skills and processes that can be adapted to any situation, and

B: I will be a better teacher , understanding what my students must and will go through as they learn.

The role of the TL is evolving and I have little idea how it will look in 20 years. All I know is my role right now is important and I need to do a good job at it. As I posted on May 8:

To me, true information literacy is knowing that my students are walking out of the door better equipped to meet the demands, challenges, expectations, and fantastic opportunities that the world now offers them. The jobs they will end up having may not have been invented yet, but I want them to be ready to take them.


Abilock, D. (2004). Information literacy: an overview of design, process and outcomes. Retrieved from: http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/information/1over/infolit1.html

Bundy, A. (ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice. 2nd ed. Adelaide: Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) and Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL). Retrieved from:  http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.caul.edu.au/content/upload/files/info-literacy/InfoLiteracyFramework.pdf

Kuhlthau, C.C. (2013). Information search process. Retrieved from http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/information_search_process.htm

Langford, L. (1998). Information literacy: a clarification. Retrieved from:  http://www.fno.org/sept98/clarify.html

Sheerman, A., Little, J., & Breward, N. (2011). iInquire… iLearn… iCreate… iShare: Guided Inquiry at Broughton Anglican College. Scan, 30(1), 4-5.