The School Librarian and Leadership

The School Librarian and Leadership: What Can Be Learned?

Elias, Jenann


ROOTS LEWIS, K. (2016). The School Librarian and Leadership What Can Be
Learned? Teacher Librarian, 43(4), 18-21.

As library professionals we are surrounded by exciting research, brilliant minds, and amazing practitioners. Armed with these resources, we should “elevate library positions in schools, ensure deep student learning and keep libraries at the forefront of teaching and learning” (Roots Lewis, 2016). This can be accomplished in several ways.
First, being a leader means knowing what matters and why. It is not enough to just read research; the librarian needs to share and act on research. This can be accomplished by co-teaching and collaboration. Evidence shows that learning experience increased when classroom teachers and librarians co-taught students. As the librarian co-teaches, it is important to document student learning. Later this evidence can be used to showcase achievement within your program using photos, anecdotes, videos, and even graphs and charts.

Being a leader at a school also means knowing what matters to your principal and why. Determine what similar goals you have, and then build on them using your strengths. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the school can help. Listen to your principal (and other admins) and ask the right questions. Librarians, after all, are “all about matching people with great resources” (Roots Lewis, 2016). So whether it’s bullying, test scores, poverty, attendance, or any other topic, find articles, video, research, studies, and other relatable information and share them.

Always be careful to ferret out gems, because you don’t want to deluge busy admins. In fact, never go unprepared with only problems. Always come bearing possible solutions and an “openness to work out a better solution together” (Roots Lewis, 2016).

And remember to highlight your best practices. According to the late Donald Clifton, who studied leadership for decades, “What great leaders have in common is that each truly knows his or her strengths…and can call on that strength at the right time” (Roots Lewis, 2016). Documenting evidence of learning and providing snapshots of your program in regular intervals are best. This serves not only as a communication tool but an advocacy tool as well.

This author cited a number of other articles and sites to assist in documentation and advocacy including Evolving with Evidence by J. Valenza in Knowledge Quest 43(3), 36-43.

School Librarian Leadership

Felix Davila III
ROOTS LEWIS, ,KATHRYN. (2016). The school librarian and leadership what can be learned? (cover story). Teacher Librarian, 43(4), 18-21. Retrieved from
Roots Lewis discusses key methods of positioning oneself in the best way to achieve success within the school environment through harnessing leadership traits and practices. She focuses on three major steps that can shift librarians into a positive direction. She highlights consistent research as a major key, noting that understanding trends, changes, resources and advancements informs and prepares practice. She acknowledges that relationships with the principal are crucial. Knowing that librarian goals are in line with the principals mindset can do wonders for progress. She is also a proponent for “highlighting” one’s program, not being afraid to sort of brag or at least showcase what the library does. This all combines to show the library can be important and a difference maker.

I appreciated Roots Lewis’ take mainly because I have seen it first hand. At my job, the principal is incredibly supportive of our efforts and enjoys that the library staff is passionate about work. In addition, our work is constantly displayed or highlighted in faculty emails and newsletters, to not only show what work is done, but to show that the principal fully backs what is done as well. This article was very important to me, as it reminds us to consider how much librarians can positively impact their own situations.
Ramos. Tara
TeachThought Staff.  (2015, October 7).  Moving students from digital citizenship to digital leadership.  Retrieved from

Summary:  The graphic below sums up the article nicely.

Evaluation:  I like this reframing.  It would mean teaching students to go beyond being citizens and participants in a digital world created by others and teach them that they can help to change and create new digital worlds.   I believe this would be empowering to students and it would engage them in learning in very meaningful ways.