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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 L. Smith
Department of Library and Information Sciences
University of North Texas
School Library Research, Vol 14, March 2011; 1-17.

The purpose of this study 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.

The study consisted of 30 participants from six school districts in Florida enrolled in a school library certification master’s degree program emphasizing leadership. Respondents completed the Leadership Practices Inventory and a supplemental survey designed by the author, containing closed and open-ended questions, collected student perception data on what was learned during the program, demographics, and information about each student’s social context.

Statistically significant differences were found between the mean scores of the self-perceived leadership practices of the study population and the normative database, with the study population reporting higher frequency scores on Model and Enable, but not for Inspire, Challenge, or Encourage. The qualitative analysis further revealed that the participants learned skills in each of the five leadership practices. This result, asserts the author, “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” (p. 7).

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.

Poverty levels within the participants’ schools had a negative correlation with the leadership practice of Challenge the Process. Students who worked in schools with higher poverty levels found themselves less likely to take risks. Poverty levels did not significantly impact use of the other four leadership practices. GRE scores were negatively correlated to the participants’ use of Encourage the Heart. but not related to the other four leadership practices.


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