The New Librarian: Using advocacy to promote leadership

Here are a few steps you can take to empower your librarians

[Editor’s note: Welcome to our new series, The New Librarian. In this series, we will be profiling innovative and award-winning library media specialists who will share their favorite tools, lessons, and advice. If you are or know a librarian we should write about, send a note to]  


As innovation coordinator for instructional technology, information & library media at Parkway School District in St. Louis, Missouri, Bill Bass has long demonstrated his commitment to 21st-century learning. He believes that the only way to deliver a dynamic student learning experience is by empowering his librarians to be leaders in everything they do.

Bass has earned numerous awards, including being named an NSBA “20 to Watch” and an ISTE Making IT Happen award. He was recently elected ISTE president for 2019.

Bass says one of the biggest things he offers his librarians is that of a constant voice advocating for them as leaders when it comes to literacy, instruction, and technology. He urges administrators to think differently about the way libraries are used and the role of the librarian in the digital age.

Here are some ways he advocates for his librarians.

Listen to empower.
“As a district administrator, my role is to set priorities and vision for our program while helping to navigate new challenges,” he says. “Since this means different things in different buildings, I must constantly listen to and intentionally garner feedback from each piece of the greater community to be effective.”

To him, listening means creating multiple opportunities for professional learning for librarians so they can stay in front of trends and be able to provide answers when students, teachers, and parents come to them for help and support.

From the moment Bass stepped into his current role, he started asking his librarians, “What does it mean to be a librarian in the digital age?” While it may not be a question with a single answer, Bass believes every librarian should readily have his or her own answer.

(Next page: More ways to empower your librarians)

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