Gary Hartzell, University of Nebraska at Omaha, USAAbstract
There's no question that principal support is vital to the establishment and maintenance of a quality library media program. The problem is that support flows from trust, and trust flows from understanding. Many principals do not understand what teacher-librarians really do nor do they appreciate the potential the library media program has for contributing to student and faculty achievement. This article explores why this is so. Principals’ perceptions of school libraries and teacher-librarians have been shaped by four interactive forces. The first is their own experiences in school libraries as children, in which they perceived the library as peripheral to the classroom. The second is the effect of their professional training, in which the library's role in curriculum and instruction was conspicuously absent. The third is the nature of the teacher-librarian's work, which is to enable and empower others. The fourth is the low profile teacher-librarians and school libraries have in the professional literature read by teachers and administrators, which prevents them from updating their sense of what the library really is and can do. The cumulative result is that administrators have only a limited and inaccurate understanding of libraries and teacher-librarians. The only way to change principal perceptions is to assault them directly, repeatedly, and from a multiplicity of directions. Reshaping perceptions takes time and effort and commitment. In the meantime, these erroneous perceptions will continue to guide most principals' relationships with school library media specialists.
copied from: School Libraries Worldwide Online School Libraries Worldwide Journal Citation: v8 n1 p92-110 Jan 2002
Especially because of the third factor, teacher-librarians can be perceived as personally pushy and demanding, rather than as intelligence, educated professionals concerned for the education of their students. Wouldn'tcha just love to do something about that?