Making your Vision for your library a reality requires two things: leadership and power. Power has many faces. Some comes from a person’s title, like principal or superintendent, but at its core (and by definition), power is having or making people do what you want them to do. The best kind of power happens when the person with power inspires – rather than forces – people to follow.

The strongest and most effective leaders don’t only have power, they are visionaries. Your Vision Statement is just a dream unless you keep it in mind and work toward it, however slowly. In addition, you can’t accomplish your vision on your own. You must make connections with others who help bring it with you to fruition.

As an example, look at this Vision Statement, “The Blank School Library Program is the center of collaborative learning, producing creative students who have an appreciation of literature, critical thinking skills, and a respect for others and self, and who are prepared to make a contribution to the world.” It is uplifting, as all Vision Statements need to be. At the same time, the importance of others being a part of it to make it a reality is embedded in the statement with phrases including: “collaborative learning,” “appreciation of literature” and “critical thinking skills.”

Bringing your vision to life requires you to work with teachers at all levels and in all subjects, as well as creating the safe environment that welcomes all, allowing them to produce their best work. To achieve that, you need to be clear on where you are going and have a positive mindset about getting there. Alaina Love in her post, Do You Have the Kind of Power That Really Matters? guides you with these five questions to ask yourself.

  1. What is the over-arching purpose I am here to achieve? The word “purpose” provides the answer. It is your Mission Statement. Your Mission Statement is what grounds you and keeps you focused on what is truly important so that you don’t get distracted –or not for long—by tasks that don’t further your purpose.
  2. What are the outcomes I am hoping to manifest today? A prioritized to-do list has you working towards that over-arching purpose in manageable steps. The pleasure we feel at being able to cross off these tasks keeps us motivated to continue in our always busy world. Love recommends keeping track of your successes as a reminder of what you are achieving. Seeing progress is an incredible motivator.
  3. How do I need to show up for others to get these results? For librarians, this means listening to the people in our community and learning what teachers are doing – and struggling with. When your library is a safe welcoming environment, they are more likely to share their worries and stresses. Offering your help and doing the heavy lifting brings them back. They will see you and the library as a vital resource toward their success.
  4. What needs to shift in the environment I create to allow others to be more successful? Your first thought may be to look at the physical arrangement of furniture in your library. That’s one place but go further. You can invite teachers to put their student projects on display highlighting the success of many. You might also assess if you can make it easier for teachers to talk with you and/or schedule their classes into the library. Is there a place in your library where you can talk privately? Environment is about more than how a place looks. It’s about how it feels when you’re there.
  5. Where do I need to demonstrate more authenticity in my interactions and communications? Establish yourself as someone who can be trusted. Be comfortable sharing what you know – and what you don’t. In addition, be open to feedback, valuable part of leadership. is tough but necessary. After a project is completed, be willing to seek the truth from the people you worked with. Ask, “What do you think worked best?” “Where did you feel most supported?” “What could I have done better?” “How could I have helped you more?” “What changes would you like to see if we repeat this project?”  Asking may make your feel vulnerable, but you will have built trust. And trust is the foundation of relationships.

You want to be the kind of leader who stays in your power and impacts others positively. With your Mission Statement and Vision to guide you, you can work continuously and successfully to make your Vision a reality because others will want to be a part of what you’re creating.

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