November 24, 2017

Ann Carlson Weeks, Jeffrey DiScala, & Christie Kodama | Movers & Shakers 2016 – Educators

Ann Carlson Weeks, Jeffrey DiScala, Christie Kodama

Ann Carlson Weeks

CURRENT POSITION

Associate Dean of Academic Programs, Lilead, College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park

DEGREE

PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 1982; MLS,
Indiana State University, 1973

FOLLOW

Lileadproject.org

Jeffrey DiScala

CURRENT POSITION

Lecturer, Lilead, College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park

DEGREE

MSLS, 2007, PhD expected 2016, both College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

FOLLOW

@jeffdiscala (Twitter); Lileadproject.org

Christie Kodama

CURRENT POSITION

Graduate Assistant, Lilead,
College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park

DEGREE

MSLS, 2011, PhD expected 2017, both College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

FOLLOW

@ckodama152 (Twitter); Lileadproject.org

Photos by Craig Taylor

Team Lilead

The career of a district school library supervisor can be a solitary one. Many are the only ones in their regions, and chances to coordinate and collaborate with others have been few and far between—until the Lilead Project.

Conceived of by Ann Carlson Weeks, associate dean of academic programs at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland (UMD), the project aims to empower school district library supervisors to effect change and become bold, confident leaders.

Frustrated that little substantial research about district library supervisors had been done since the 1960s, Weeks, with Jeffrey DiScala, a doctoral candidate at UMD and her advisee, wrote an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) proposal for what would become the Lilead Survey. The survey, funded in 2012, found that school districts with supervisors fared better than those without; it also established that many district supervisors felt unprepared for their roles.

“School librarians have other school librarians to talk to, but the next county’s supervisor may be far away,” says DiScala. “Many [supervisors are] former teachers or school librarians with no leadership training [who went] from managing day-to-day programs in their own libraries to administering an entire district’s worth of programs.”

To provide that crucial sense of community, Weeks and DiScala—joined by Christie Kodama, also a doctoral student, who helped to write grant proposals—went a step further. In 2015, with another IMLS grant, they launched the Lilead Fellows Program, an 18-month professional development initiative that brought together 25 hand-selected supervisors from 17 states who collectively serve 1.5 million students in 2,181 libraries. Meeting at conferences and online, with guidance from five mentors, the Fellows share concerns, provide support, and push one another to make lasting changes within their districts.

“We consciously picked people who were willing to take risks,” says Weeks. “As a force they will be able to change the world….”

They’ve already begun—one district at a time. One Fellow’s district increased the number of schools with certified librarians from 67 percent to 100 percent; another offered her librarians professional development so that they can now teach classes rather than simply check out books.

Says Stephanie Ham, director of library services at Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, a 2014 LJ Mover & Shaker, and a Lilead Fellow, “They essentially brought together 25 strangers to change how districts serve their librarians. They are impacting over a million children and hundreds of librarians.”

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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