Standard 5: Leadership, Advocacy and Professional Responsibility
Candidates in school librarian preparation programs are actively engaged in leadership, collaboration, advocacy, and professional networking. Candidates participate in and lead ongoing professional learning. Candidates advocate for effective school libraries to benefit all learners. Candidates conduct themselves according to the ethical principles of the library and information profession.
5.1 Professional Learning: Candidates engage in ongoing professional learning. Candidates deliver professional development designed to meet the diverse needs of all members of the learning community.
5.2 Leadership & Collaboration: Candidates lead and collaborate with members of the learning community to effectively design and implement solutions that positively impact learner growth and strengthen the role of the school library.
5.3 Advocacy: Candidates advocate for all learners, resources, services, policies, procedures, and school libraries through networking and collaborating with the larger education and library community.
5.4 Ethical Practice: Candidates model and promote the ethical practices of librarianship, as expressed in the foundational documents of the library profession including the American Library Association Code of Ethics and the Library Bill of Rights.
LIS 653 Advocacy Plan
LIS 654 Portrait of a Collaborator
Alignment with Standards
The advocacy plan assignment combined analysis of user needs with professional growth. My advocacy plan focused on the need to jumpstart the instruction program at my school library, laid out strategies for achievement, and methods for evaluating effectiveness. This assignment aligns with standard 5.2 (leadership and collaboration) and 5.3 (advocacy). In the "Portrait of a Collaborator" assignment, we used multiple self-assessment strategies to determine the best ways to present our skills and abilities to effectively collaborate with colleagues in our school. This assignment aligns with standard 5.1 (professional learning), 5.2 (leadership and collaboration), and 5.3 (advocacy).
What I Learned:
A good school librarian should also be a leader. Advocating for the library, using ethical information practices, and supporting library users' rights are all important aspects of professional responsibility. As Hilda Weisburg says: "...leadership is no longer an option. It is a job requirement. Our students and teachers need us to be leaders. And our profession needs librarians who know how to make their presence known and their program be viewed as vital and indispensable" (2016). Weisburg also notes that for many librarians, a leadership role may be outside their comfort zone. A large part of this leadership role is advocating for the library and its programs. It is important to note that "[library] advocacy involves a deliberate and sustained effort to foster understanding of the school library program while influencing the attitudes of key stake-holders" (Burns 2015). During my coursework, I created an advocacy plan and a self analysis called the "Portrait of a Collaborator". Through these assignments, I was able to get more comfortable with the role of school leader and library advocate. Planning, and being able to back up requests with research, is a key part of advocating for what your library (and users) needs.
Impact on Students:
Research shows that students benefit from strong school library programs, and students are served best when the librarian can effectively advocate for policies, funding, and necessary programming.
Burns, E. (2015). Understanding advocacy for effective action. School Library Monthly, 31 (7).
Weisburg, H. (2016). Leadership - there is no other option. Knowledge Quest. https://knowledgequest.aasl.org/libraries-leadership-no-option/