8 Things you need to know to be…
AN AGENT OF CHANGE

In a recent white paper, Gale, a Cengage company, explored eight best practices on how leading librarians across the country are building relationships with administrators, changing perceptions and sharing their stories to better serve students.




BEST PRACTICES FOR PARTNERING WITH ADMINISTRATORS AND ADVOCATING FOR STUDENTS

To reset outmoded perceptions, school librarians must be proactive in promoting their skills and spaces—then do it again and again.


“If you don’t speak up for yourselves and your libraries, no one else will. You are a change agent, curriculum person, instruction person and a professional development person. Sell your value. Show your value. That’s where you make a difference.” – Dr. Bill Chapman, Superintendent, Jarrell Independent School District, TX

In a recent white paper, Gale, a Cengage company, explored eight best practices on how leading librarians across the country are building relationships with administrators, changing perceptions and sharing their stories to better serve students.

  • Step 1: Embrace chaos
    Appearances count! Make your library a vibrant space for students to meet, for teachers to teach lessons and for the partnerships to occur. Draw students and create a buzz of activity.
  • Step 2: Start small, think big
    Shifting perceptions won’t happen overnight. Own digital literacy, embed a maker space and introduce no-cost STEAM activities that give students a glimpse of the kind of innovative learning that can take place in the library. Then, build on that.
  • Step 3: Watch your language
    It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Don’t make assumptions. Rather, make the connection for the school administrators. Explain why the initiative is needed, how it fits into the curriculum and supports student achievement, how much it costs, who will be affected, how other initiatives have worked elsewhere and how you will measure outcomes.
  • Step 4: Zero in on outcomes
    Keep the focus on the students, identify ways to solve problems and show flexibility and a willingness to meet administrators half way on the resolution. Illustrate your arguments with evidence that’s concrete, personal and compelling.
  • Step 5: Share your success
    Follow up with administrators, share the effectiveness of your initiative and thank contributors!
  • Step 6: Connect to school leadership
    Communicate before a problem arises, address concerns, send email progress updates and have regular chats with your administrators.
  • Step 7: Reach out to teachers
    Transform how teachers perceive the library’s role and help them realize that the library is a shared student and classroom resource. Offer your library to teachers for planning or to teach their classes, send a weekly newsletter with a strategy and useful information, and offer to pull resources together for a classroom project.
  • Step 8: Persevere
    For those frustrated with the pace of change, persevere and know what you’re doing is what’s best for students.

Next Steps

Let these best practices guide you to ensure students are your top priority and that every decision you make is what’s best for them. Additionally, try implementing one of these best practices – the outcome may pleasantly surprise you!


Librarians ARE change agents and the change starts with you. For more insights, download the whitepaper, infographic and/or webinar on best practices for partnering with administrators and advocating for students.

 

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