Linda Braun (past-president of YALSA) writes in the March/April 2013 issue of American Libraries about “speaking administrator,” a process by which youth services librarians can build relationships and trust through careful, strategic communication with supervisors and directors.
Though aimed at youth services librarians, this advice is valuable for school librarians, too! I’m awaiting the web version of this article (which includes an expanded list of 10 tips), but here’s a quick peek at the 5 tips in the print magazine, quoted directly from Linda Braun’s article:
- Build relationships
- Communicate regularly
- Be transparent
- Focus on solutions
- Don’t stop at ‘no’
My favorite among these tips might be the suggestion to look beyond your immediate concerns as a youth librarian and show that you are concerned with the organization as a whole (part of #1). In explaining this tip, Linda Braun suggests not always talking about youth services, and being ready to discuss other topics. School librarians can achieve this by demonstrating interest in school-wide initiatives and issues, which may or may not relate directly to the school library. (And I know that this might mean stepping back from the belief that everything connects in some way to the library- a conviction I tend to hold dear – but it’s worth showing that you are an educator who appreciates the many roles and needs across the building).
Check out the article for more practical and important strategies for communicating with your school leaders!
Reference: Braun, Linda W. “Managing the Managers.” American Libraries. (March/April 2013): 64.