abstract smith Educating Preservice School Librarians to Lead: A Study of Self- Perceived Transformational Leadership Behaviors

Educating Preservice School Librarians to Lead: A Study of Self- Perceived Transformational Leadership Behaviors

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TITLE Educating Preservice School Librarians to Lead: A Study of Self- Perceived Transformational Leadership Behaviors
 
RESEARCHER Daniella Smith
School Library Media Research (2010)
Vol. 13, 1-12

OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this was to determine the factors that impacted the level of self-perceived transformational leadership potential in preservice school librarians who participated in a master’s degree program in library and information studies focusing on leadership development.

METHODOLOGY
The sample consisted of the 30 students chosen for the graduate education leadership program (LEAD) from six Florida counties. In addition to completing the Leadership Practices Inventory, the participants answered some closed and open-ended questions, provided information about what was learned during the program, demographics, and information about their social context.

KEY FINDINGS
Differences were found between the leadership practices from this sample compared with the Kouzes Posner normative database; including significantly higher frequency by the former for the leadership practices of Model and Enable. The author reports that “the qualitative analysis further revealed that the participants learned skills in each of the five leadership dimensions identified by Kouzes and Posner… and substantiates that the leadership curriculum implemented for the study participants was a factor in the development of their leadership skills and supports previous research indicating leadership skills can be learned.”

Age, grade point averages, district support, school support, experience, school grades, school levels, community types, the type of contact the mentors had with the Project LEAD students, and the location of the mentors did not have a significant relationship with any of the five leadership practices. The study did uncovered some significant relationships between the participants’ leadership scores and various social contextual variables: School poverty was negatively correlated with Challenge; GRE scores were negatively correlated with total LPI scores and Encourage; Mentor contact hours was positively correlated with total LPI scores, Model, Enable, and Encourage; and Satisfaction with the mentor was positively correlated with Encourage.

The author concludes: “This study confirms that leadership skills can be taught. By their own admission, the transformational leadership skills that were taught to the preservice school librarians who participated in Project LEAD made a substantial difference in their schools even while they were still enrolled in the program. This implies that in the future school librarian programs can be tailored to pinpoint specific transformational leadership skills that may need to be addressed by individual students” (p. 8).

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