Lilead Fellows Program Holds Potential to Positively Influence Texas School Librarianship

by Judi Moreillon, Literacies and Librarians Consultant, and Lilead Project Cohort 2 Mentor

Just as school librarians are usually the only educators in their buildings who know what their job entails so, too, are school library administrators most often the only person at the district level who understands the many hats school librarians wear in today’s educational landscape. Being responsible for school libraries and librarians in a district is not easy. Just as school librarians need support from job-alike colleagues so, too, do school librarian supervisors.
One reason Texas school librarianship is strong is because it has the largest organization in the nation for school librarian supervisors—the Texas Association of School Library Administrators (TASLA). TASLA supports school librarian supervisors’ professional learning throughout the academic year and at the annual TASLA Workshop held in Austin every summer.
Now, there is additional support for the work of school librarian supervisors at the national level. The Lilead Fellows Program, led by Ann Carlson Weeks who coordinated the National Library Power Project from 1992-1996, is building a peer-community among district-level school library supervisors that builds upon the work of Library Power. (Read a summary of Library Power outcomes on the California Department of Education’s Web site. The Lilead Project offers a professional development program and a network of support “designed to empower, enable, and equip school district library supervisors to think differently and creatively about their library programs and to be effective and inspirational leaders for change in their districts” 
With a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the University of Maryland iSchool-based Lilead Fellows Program invited the first cohort of twenty-five school librarian administrators, known as Fellows, to join the program in January, 2015.  Robin Ward Stout from Lewisville, ISD, was among the supervisors from across the country who participated in the first cohort’s 18-month program of face-to-face and online learning and sharing. 
Thanks to an additional IMLS 2016 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program award, the iSchool is partnering with the Darden College of Education at Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Virginia) to offer a program for a second cohort of twenty Fellows. The funds are also supporting the Project in developing a series of leadership courses for school librarian supervisors.
Carter Cook, Fort Worth, ISD, Carolyn Foote, Eanes ISD, and Ann Vickman, South Texas ISD, are the Lilead Project Cohort 2 Fellows from Texas. Like Robin and the Cohort 1 Fellows, they are participating in professional development designed to help them “tackle challenging and pressing issues in their districts and work toward transformational change to support student success.”

            Each Lilead Fellow has the charge and opportunity to develop an Action Plan to achieve a positive change in their districts. While each plan is uniquely focused at the local level, their professional development experiences and action plans may lead the Fellows to identify a shared purpose for a project that crosses state borders. Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 Fellows’ actions, networking, and collaboration is bound to strengthen the school librarian profession. Stay tuned to the TxASL Talks blog for more information about the learning and leading experiences of the Lilead Fellows.

NOTE: We hope to offer posts by our TX Lilead fellows later this year.

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