Librarians' Leadership Efficacy, Training, and School Involvement: Collaboration between Teachers and School Librarians in Israel

By Ash-Argyle, Ruth; Shoham, Snunith | School Libraries Worldwide, January 2012 | Go to article overview

Librarians' Leadership Efficacy, Training, and School Involvement: Collaboration between Teachers and School Librarians in Israel


Ash-Argyle, Ruth, Shoham, Snunith, School Libraries Worldwide


This paper analyzes the correlation between the type of training received by librarians, their leadership efficacy and their involvement in the life of the school, and patterns of teacher-librarian collaboration (TLC) in Israel. The study was based on 291 questionnaires answered by school librarians, teachers, and principals of public schools in Israel. The research findings indicate that leadership ability is predictive of an advanced pattern of teacher-librarian collaboration (TLC). Similarly, the perceived level of advanced cooperation was lower among librarians who do not have a teaching license, than for either teacher-librarians or librarians with a teaching license who work only in the library. The teacher-librarians were perceived to have the highest level of pedagogical and social involvement, and therefore the chances that they will maintain an advanced pattern of TLC are the higher.

Introduction

This paper is based on research conducted in Israel in 2010. It is a qualitative study based on a questionnaire distributed to school librarians, principals and teachers in Israeli Jewish public schools. The goal of the study was to examine the degree of connection, if any, between the leadership efficacy of the librarians, as perceived by themselves, teachers and principals, and their involvement in the life of the school and patterns of teacher-librarian collaboration (TLC) in Israel. We also analyze the correlation between the type of training the librarians received, their leadership efficacy, and TLC.

This paper contributes to a renewed examination of the required competencies and the cultivation of leadership skills in the education of effective school librarians. It also sheds light on the areas of involvement necessary for development of best practice work patterns that are an important factor in building fruitful collaboration between librarians and teachers.

Literature Review

Teacher-Librarian Collaboration (TLC)

Collaboration is defined as a relationship system based on shared goals, a shared vision, and a climate of trust and respect where each partner has a defined role. The partners share the leadership, risk, control and resources. Usually, the work relationship between them lasts for a relatively long period of time (Callison, 1999).

The importance of TLC has long been recognized. As early as 1941, school librarians in the United States were expected to be familiar with the sources teachers needed for teaching, to coordinate with them and integrate them in the school's plans. Standards formulated by the American Library Association in 1945 emphasized the close working relationship between librarians and teachers (Douglas, 1945). In 1960, the standards of the American Association of School Librarians were updated with a focus on collaboration between teachers and librarians, in order to encourage excellence, and provide teachers and students with the resources they required. In the 1980s, the clear connection between increasing the collaboration between teachers and librarians, and an improvement in students' achievements was recognized.

In Empowering Learners, (American Association of School Librarians [AASL], 2009) the role of the school librarian is based on the belief that the librarian is central to teaching and learning in school. TLC was a central issue in the second edition of Information Power (AASL, 1998). It emphasized the involvement of librarians in the educational process, while the newer Empowering Learners places more emphasis on collaboration and team-teaching by the librarian and a teacher as a way to achieve the goal of improving students' achievements (Loertscher, 2009).

In the 21st century educational environment, the librarian is required to intensify collaboration, especially with classroom teachers. Predictions of future developments in the role of school librarians emphasize the need to be a partner in teaching. The librarian is required to build new collaborations and connect the school resource center to a broad educational community through cooperative programs even with organizations outside of the school (AASL, 2009). …

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