How You Lead Depends on What You Read!

Article excerpt

HOW you lead depends on what you read! Knowledge of best practices, current research, and useful ideas will help you do the following:

* Plan and develop an effective school media/ technology program.

* Be an effective, efficient, and credible communicator.

* Support your own professional writing and presentations.

* Be a leader in your school and district.

Among my reading favorites are the books, journals, and Web sites I turn to frequently for reference or inspiration.

Jean Dohnam's Enhancing Teaching and Learning: A Leadership Guide for School Library Media Specialists (New York: Neal-Schuman, 1998) is a must-read for both inspiration and practical ideas about our role as teachers and collaborators.

Frequently, I refer to my dog-eared copy of Foundations for Effective School Library Media Programs (Libraries Unlimited, 1999). Edited by Ken Haycock, Foundations is a compilation of 39 papers that addresses the critical elements of successful programs. (The articles are not new, but the concepts and research are relevant.)

An annually published compilation of articles that is worth a look is the Educational Media and Technology Yearbook (Libraries Unlimited). Each edition covers trends and issues and school library media programs. It also contains a mediagraphy and information about graduate programs and professional associations. Articles are written both by practitioners and by higher-education personnel.

It is imperative for all media specialists to be fully informed of media-program impact studies. Powering Achievement: School Library Media Programs Make a Difference, 2nd Edition by Keith Curry Lance and David V. Loertscher (Hi Willow Research & Publishing, 2002) compiles data from studies of more than 3,300 schools in eight states. Additionally, there are scripts for short presentations, reproducible charts and handouts, and links to downloadable PowerPoint slides.

Need more information about the impact studies? Many more resources and freebies are accessible at http://www.lmcsource.com. The Library Research Web site has even more presentations and links to additional studies. It also has a bibliography and links to essential reading about the importance of school media programs, including articles published in newspapers and journals for parents and other educators, evidence that we are doing more than preaching to the choir.

Did you receive a copy of School Libraries Work (Scholastic, 2004)? This invaluable executive summary of impact studies in 14 states was mailed to more than 14,000 superintendents, principals, and AASL members. If you didn't receive a copy or need more copies, the 20-page report is available as a PDF at http://wwwscholastic.com/librarypublishing. It will provide you with the necessary information for explaining why we need school media programs.

Gary Hartzell's "Building Influence" columns are available in School Library Journal and are essential as the impact studies. Read them online at http://www. slj.com. (Browse by SLJ section to find them.) Even if you have already read them, these words of wisdom are worth a re-read.

Another must is The Power of Reading, Insights from the Research, 2nd Edition, by Stephen Krashen (Libraries Unlimited, 2004). Once again, the research (first published in 1993) documents the value of free, voluntary reading. In light of NCLB, classroom collection, and standardized testing, this book belongs in every media center's professional collection.

A Minnesota colleague often refers to the work of Carol Collier Kuhlthau. Among Kuhlthau's many publications on the research process is Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services, 2nd Edition (Libraries Unlimited, 2003). Another colleague recommends From Computers to Community: Unlocking the Potential of the Wired Classroom (Consortium for School Networking, 2000) because of its vision of how technology can build community. …