Administration: Making a Connection with the Library's Strongest Advocate

Administration: Making a Connection with the Library's Strongest Advocate

Rebecca Kelly
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8358-7.ch001
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It is an interesting time to be a school librarian! The Common Core State Standards are changing the way school librarians look at their collections and support their teachers. The need for students to develop digital literacy skills requires school librarians to not only be adept at choosing materials but also agile in the world of technology, while the greater emphasis on teacher evaluations is pushing librarians to look critically at their own teaching practices. In addition to this, budgets are being slashed, and librarians are losing their jobs due to tough fiscal times. It is now crucial for the library to be the central hub of the building, and for the librarian to be an essential part of the building staff. By making a connection with the building administration, a librarian can become vital to the successful operation of a school. Collaborating with administration is a natural way to expand the work that librarians do and offers many benefits to the librarian, and as a result, to the students.
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Ways That Collaborating With Administration Can Support The Library

Student Growth

The ultimate goal of any school is to have students grow in their learning and understanding of the world. The school library plays an integral role in this advancement; it serves as a place where students can expand their learning, as well as acts as a connector to a student’s adult life by teaching how academic libraries meet the needs of college students and how public libraries serve the same role to adults in the greater community. School administration strives to create a cohesive plan for student achievement as they put together schedules, plan professional development and act as instructional leaders of their buildings. If administrators work closely with the librarian, the library will be embedded into that administration’s plan for the building. As a result, both teachers and students will view the librarian as an individual who is vital to the learning culture of the school and the academic achievement of all students. This notoriety offers school librarians the chance to promote their work while encouraging teachers to collaborate more often. When the library is built into the vision of how administration believes the school should be run, the library becomes a central and necessary hub in the building.

Key Contact for District Initiatives

As the librarian works more closely with the building principal, he or she fosters a tight bond between the two positions. Along with perceiving library initiatives as integral components in the planning and execution of building administration, the principal will come to value the librarian as an asset when implementing new initiatives. This distinction proves very useful to a librarian as he or she works to build the school library program. Building administration is charged with taking the goals and strategic plan of the school district or county and translating these into local level implementations. In each building, this can be accomplished in different ways. If the librarian has a strong, collaborative relationship with the principal, the administrator will look to the library as a place to launch these new initiatives. This works well for the librarian for two reasons: first, the library will always be at the forefront of what is happening in a building, usually having a voice in how an initiative is implemented. Second, the library will become a gathering place for teachers who are looking for their place within the organization’s plan.

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