The Many Faces of School Library Leadership

by Sharon Coatney, Editor


School librarians need to provide leadership in technology, literacy, curriculum, advocacy, vision, intellectual freedom, collaborative instruction, and more. Each of these areas is equally important in ensuring a school library program that will enhance and encourage student achievement.

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Cover image for The Many Faces of School Library Leadership

April 2010

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 147
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Librarianship: Philosophy, Values, and Issues/Leadership

School librarians are called upon to provide leadership in many and varied areas. This book shows them how.

More than ever, it is vital that librarians demonstrate leadership skills that will reinforce their own value and that of their institutions. The Many Faces of School Library Leadership offers insights and practical suggestions for such leadership through 10 essays contributed by outstanding leaders in the field of school librarianship.

The book covers leadership in curriculum and instruction, literacy, technology, intellectual freedom, staff development, and other equally critical areas. It discusses the breadth and depth of the leadership school librarians must provide to move the school library program forward, secure enhanced services for students and faculty, and improve student achievement. It offers insights into the many leadership roles embraced by accomplished practitioners and considers the research surrounding these best practices. The book ends with a powerful chapter by renowned visionary David Loertscher that is a call for change and renewal—and an inspirational reminder of the bottom-line purpose of the profession.


  • Essays from a star-studded array of experts who are widely known and respected in the school library field, including Ken Haycock, Vi Harada, Blanche Woolls, and Helen Adams
  • A lengthy resource section in every chapter
  • Extensive references and bibliographies


  • Looks at the very real job of being a school librarian today, a job that requires leadership in many areas critical to student learning and achievement
  • Covers both the research and the “how-to” of school library leadership
  • Focuses on collaboration, helping teachers teach, and program advocacy, inspiring school librarians to renew their efforts to become the learning leaders in their schools
  • Offers practical, actionable advice throughout
Author Info

Sharon Coatney is senior acquisitions editor for Libraries Unlimited and was a past president of the American Association of School Librarians, a former councilor-at-large of the American Library Association, and was a teacher and school librarian in Kansas for 30 years.



"For those practicing librarians wanting to implement or increase their roles as instructional leaders, this is a must-read book, and those school systems with a professional library or universities with a library science program should purchase it. Recommended."—Library Media Connection

"All of [the essays] present information liable to be relevant and helpful to some members of the profession. . . . These pieces focus on practical problems and concrete approaches to increasing the professional success of school librarians and media specialists."—VOYA

"Coatney’s introduction sets the stage for this collection of 10 essays by leaders and thinkers in the field including such familiar names as Ken Haycock, Helen R. Adams, Doug Achterman, Blanche Woolls, and David Loertscher. Haycock provides an overview of leadership, as opposed to management, and how leading from the middle exerts its own type of power. Adams advocates for leadership in intellectual freedom. Achterman discusses literacy leadership, that is, promoting reading for a lifetime and collaborating with teachers and others to foster literacy in the digital age. Woolls covers the importance of local, state, and national organizations; and Loertscher closes with a vision of the future. These and other contributors ask us to think about how teacher-librarians affect student achievement. For self-development or part of a professional learning community’s reading."—Booklist Online

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