Leading for School Librarians: There Is No Other Option, Second Edition

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author
  • Reviews

Newly revised to connect with the AASL National School Library Standards, this indispensable guide shows school librarians how they can methodically build their confidence and skills to become the leaders their students and colleagues needs them to be.

Deemed “essential” by Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA), “a great read” by School Library Journal, and “comprehensive” by Reference & User Services Quarterly, the first edition of Weisburg’s guide won plaudits for its inspirational yet pragmatic approach. At a time when school librarians are facing challenges as never before, from straitened budgets and censorship battles to uncertainty about the future and burnout, the updated second edition is timelier than ever. Weisburg builds on her decades of experience and mentorship in school libraries to offer a carefully crafted roadmap that guides readers step by step through the process of transforming into a leader, from becoming aware of what's at stake to learning and mastering the necessary skills for leadership. From this book, which offers “Key Ideas” at the end of each chapter, you will learn

  • why you can’t be an effective advocate for your school library unless you're a leader;
  • how to tackle common fears about taking on a leadership role, and ways to move past them and gain confidence;
  • guidance on managing classes in the library and the importance of leading with your attitude;
  • approaches that will help you become an expert teacher, from "Creating a Climate for Questions" to inquiry-based learning and other variations;
  • techniques for uncovering your strengths, identifying your skill set, and improving your leadership expertise;
  • methods for building credibility among stakeholders and peers through strategic risk-taking;
  • pointers on communicating effectively, becoming visible, behaving ethically, dealing with Imposter Syndrome, maintaining a healthy life-work balance, and navigating other important career issues; and
  • how to create a three-year strategic plan to further your mission and your vision, enabling you to become a local educational leader who also has a presence on the state and national level.

Foreword, by Susan D. Ballard


Part I              Safe First Steps to Leadership

Chapter 1        Why Be a Leader?

  • Accepting the Challenge
  • Roadblocks to Leadership
  • Qualities of a Leader
  • Measuring Up
  • Fear Factor
  • Key Ideas

Chapter 2        Getting Grounded

  • Who Are You?
  • Mission Statements
  • Vision Statements
  • Procrastination—the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • Key Ideas

Chapter 3        Managing Classes in the Library

  • The Challenge—Part 1
  • Control vs. Management
  • Your Attitude Leads
  • Rules and Routines
  • Key Ideas

Chapter 4        Becoming an Expert Teacher

  • The Challenge—Part 2
  • Anticipate
  • Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings
  • Creating a Climate for Questions
  • Assessing
  • Collaborate or Cooperate
  • Inquiry-Based Learning and Other Variations
  • Standards
  • Key Ideas

Part II            Building Your Leadership Skills

Chapter 5        Becoming a Leader

  • Developing Confidence
  • Identifying and Using Role Models and Mentors
  • Testing Your Leadership Skills
  • Being a Team Player
  • Imposter Syndrome and Self-Assessment
  • Key Ideas

Chapter 6        Uncovering Your Strengths

  • Five Bases of Power
  • Your Skill Set
  • Relationship Building
  • Being Likeable
  • Key Ideas

Chapter 7        Improving Your Leadership Expertise

  • To Do and To Don’t
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Leading and Managing
  • Making Meetings Matter
  • Key Ideas

Chapter 8        Knowing How to Handle Important Communications

  • Communicating in Person
  • Written Communication
  • Digital Communication
  • Making a Presentation
  • Recognizing the Messages You Send
  • The IT Department and You
  • Key Ideas

Part III           Playing Larger

Chapter 9        Always Have a Plan

  • Your Brand and Taglines
  • Know Your Goals
  • Identifying Your Targets
  • SOAR Rather Than SWOT
  • The Strategic Plan
  • Showcase Your Advocacy Plan
  • Key Ideas

Chapter 10      Staying Visible and Vital

  • Empowering Stakeholders
  • Standards and Ethics
  • Staying Current
  • Seek to Innovate
  • Toolkits
  • Key Ideas

Chapter 11      Maintaining Joy

  • Writing and Presenting
  • Delegating
  • Giving Back
  • The Gift of Time
  • Key Ideas


Hilda K. Weisburg

Hilda K. Weisburg was a school librarian for more than 30 years and is now an author, speaker, and adjunct instructor at William Paterson University and Montana State University. She coauthored (with Ruth Toor) more than a dozen books for school librarians, including Being Indispensable: A School Librarian’s Guide to Becoming an Invaluable Leader (2011) and New on the Job: A School Library Media Specialist’s Guide to Success (2014). Weisburg is also the author of School Librarian’s Career Planner (2013), Leading for School Librarians: There Is No Other Option (2017), and Classroom Management for School Librarians (2020). For 35 years, she cowrote and edited School Librarian’s Workshop, a bimonthly newsletter for K–12 librarians. Weisburg has given presentations at ALA, AASL, and state library conferences. She has also presented staff development workshops in many locations. A past president of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, she is a past chair of the AASL Advocacy committee, chairs the Ruth Toor Grant for Strong Public Libraries, and serves on various ALA committees. Weisburg was the recipient of AASL’s 2016 Distinguished Service Award.

Praise for the first edition

”Useful for librarians entering the field and those who may not be as well versed in the research on leadership; a great read for teachers who have transitioned into librarianship but lack certification or a library school background."
— School Library Journal

"With her wisdom and knowledge about library work, Weisburg harvests insights from psychology, technology, business, and marketing to help any school librarian strengthen a library's identity and clarify its value to the community ... this is an essential book for reimagining the role of a competent, effective school librarian at a critical time of shrinking resources."

"This is a comprehensive book that includes valuable information for school librarians, no matter their level of experience. Any school librarian or school district could use this book to ensure that their librarians and library program are seen as indispensable."
— Reference & User Services Quarterly