Middler Books and More

This blog contains Bruce DuBoff's book reviews, info on other media, and related topics. It is a collaboration between the librarian and both the students of Pennsauken Intermediate School and Phifer Middle School in Pennsauken, NJ, and the general middler book reading community. The books featured here are appropriate for grades 5-8, though not all books reviewed here are appropriate for all of those ages.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thoughts on Librarians and Leadership

March 24, 2015

I wrote this in response to a request for an interview on leadership. The questions were:
  • What leadership disposition(s) do you call on most and how do you use it (them)?
    • Dispositions:knowledge, courage, forthrightness, organization, time management, commitment, humility, perseverance
  • What is your vision of the field of School Librarianship for the next generation?

In looking at the Dispositions, I find it impossible to choose any one that I depend upon the most:
Knowledge is crucial to me because I am worth very little to my students and staff if I am not an authority on all of the technology and literature they do not have time for. Although my patrons do not have to view me as Mr. Peabody the know-it-all, my value to them is diminished if I do not demonstrate that I care enough to know what they need me to know.
It takes forthrightness and perseverance to find out how to best serve the needs of multiple school communities, especially if, like myself and many others, there is no one else in the building who does what I do or even knows what is expected of me.
Running two buildings practically single-handedly takes a great deal of commitment to my students and staff, because I could do less and “get away with it.”  Organization and time management are crucial to succeeding in juggling activities successfully without appearing like I am doing that, in the way that a pro athlete shoots a basket or swings a club. Since I am involved outside of school, efficiency is key to finishing my tasks so I am not spending unpaid overtime in the Library when I can be spending it at other school and district related activities and making my presence known in the district. Remember, job security is more assured if my administration is convinced of my multifarious skills and competencies. To take all of this on requires much courage, and courageous action, if taken with the right motivations and spirit, breeds humility.

The next generation of School Librarianship will be in a constant struggle for survival. The field is changing, and, like journalism and compact disc manufacturing, it may look quite different 20 years from now. As more unfunded mandates come down the pike, like the technology upgrades necessary to administer the PARCC test in New Jersey, school librarians must spend increasingly more time advocating for their professions globally and proving their value locally. Ironically however, our importance and our relevance has never been greater than it will be for the next generation. As students receive less formal training on how to appropriately and accurately use the Internet for research, other dedicated, caring professionals not necessarily hired for that purpose will be required to assume that mantle of responsibility. Librarians will be at the forefront of that volunteer spirit if they want to increase their relevance in their districts. 

Bruce DuBoff
School Library Media Specialist
Secretary, Park Avenue Campus PTA
Vice President, Conference Chair, NJ Association of School Librarians
Edmodo Ambassador and Certified Trainer
Howard M. Phifer Middle School
URL: http://ww2.pennsauken.net/pms
Pennsauken Intermediate School
e-mail: bruceduboff@gmail.com
URL: http://ww2.pennsauken.net/pim
Blog: http://phiferbooks.blogspot.com