Connecticut Association of School Librarians

Leadership & the School Library Media Specialist

CASL in collaboration with Fairfield University had a great workshop on leadership yesterday. Thirty-one people had the privilege of listening to three experts talking about how to be a good leader.

The morning started off with Sara Kelly Johns who is currently running for ALA president-elect. Sara is a wonderful role model. She is a practicing school librarian in Lake Placid, has been AASL president, teaches at the university, is associate editor of Knowledge Quest, and is a trustee at her public library. She had a great quote by John F. Kennedy, "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." Sara encouraged us to become instructional partners with our students, "We need to include them." As the world shifts, we need to be on the web where students are. Sara also encouraged us to "own the Common Core standards" and implement the AASL standards and program guidelines.

What do leaders do?
  • demonstrate enthusiasm constantly
  • articulate a consistant vision
  • sell the benefit
  • tell more stories
  • invite participation
  • reinforce an optimistic outlook
  • encourage potential (Carmine Gallo, Business Week columnist)

Sara has created a wiki for us to use and to learn. She has compiled wonderful leadership resources for us.

Dr. Paul Maloney was the next speaker. He has a vast amount of experience in business around the world and now shares his knowledge of Situational Leadership at Fairfield. His guiding quote was from Warren G. Bennis, "Leaders are made rather than born." He said that we are all in a process of change and developing the future. We need leaders throughout any organization. Dr. Maloney explained situational leadership, shared a graphic of leader behaviors and led us through examples to analyze leadership style. He noted that most businesses followed that model.

Dr. Maureen Hinkley discussed creating a leadership plan and referred to CT's 2009 Common Core of Leading. First, you need a vision of the preferred future before you can rally people around your cause, a long range goal rather than a mission. Your vision should be simple enough to repeat and remember, and can identify how those around you can expect to be treated. You need a purpose to clarify your direction and that aligns with your goals and objectives. Use that to motivate, empower and encourage learning. You need to think strategically and take specific steps. Look at the big picture and make your case. Paint a picture of the future. Understand the politics of your environment and develop a power base.

The workshop gave all of us plenty of food for thought. Fairfield is working on the possibility of a follow-up session on leadership. Watch for announcements on CASL's web page, listserv, newsletter and ning. The CASL professional development team is also planning for the annual fall conference in November and looking for session proposals to reflect best practices in Connecticut.

Thank you Sara Kelly Johns, Dr. Hinkley and Dr. Maloney for a valuable workshop and for answering our questions beyond the scheduled conclusion.

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