ALIA Schools Online Forum: Teams in School Libraries – Day 1


ALIA Schools Online Forum ‘Teams in School libraries’:

Day 1 – Introduction

Welcome to the first day of the ALIA Schools Online Forum: Teams In School Libraries.

Everyone is welcome to participate and there are no registration requirements. If you do post a comment/s during the next week, you will be entitled to a certificate of participation for your records which you can request on the final day of the forum. We are trying a new format this year and have adjusted the dates to hold this online forum within a single work week. Feedback on this new format is welcome.

A note about posting comments: if you have participated before your response will be automatically visible. If not, a member of the ALIA Schools group will be checking in throughout the day to approve your comments, so there may be a few hours before your comment becomes visible.

During this week we encourage our participants to take a small amount of time each day to think about our focus question and consider the ways in which they participate in teams both in the school library and throughout the school. We suggest that you also post a response here on our blog to share your thoughts and understandings with other participants.

Today we ask participants to consider the following three quotes:

  • “Form, Storm, Norm, Perform” — Daniel Blattner
  • “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” — Henry Ford
  • “Co-planning allows co-teachers to find ways to remove the barriers to effective teaching practices while keeping the rigor of the coursework intact” — Gloria Lodato Wilson (ASCD)

Which of these quotes resonates with you and why?

We look forward to engaging with you all here on our blog during the next week.


16 thoughts on “ALIA Schools Online Forum: Teams in School Libraries – Day 1

  1. Form, Storm, Norm, Perform
    This quote helps me to appreciate that the development of a team involves many stages. I have certainly seen teams that really did not go beyond the storming stage because a firm foundation was not laid at the inception, the forming stage. Members were welcomed to the team however there was no real consensus about what was to be achieved. This meant that in the storming stage the power games and jockeying for position prevented any real resolution of the conflicting perceptions of the goal. It was therefore very difficult for the team to move forward.
    Does this quote strike a chord with anyone else?

    • Hi Sandra
      This definitely strikes a chord with me. Slightly different reason though, to the consensus about what needed to be achieved (even though this happened). I had members continually added to my team by someone more senior because it was felt they had a lot to add. This was a project team and it was tricky getting agreement because majority had different agendas and different perspectives on things, which were quite often different to what the project team had been scoped to do.


    • Yes, Sandra, this strikes a chord with me. I have also been in teams that did not progress beyond the forming stage. In these instances, team members have not had a clear purpose. They have found it challenging to work constructively, individually and with others, towards the team’s vision, mission, goals, and objectives. In order to storm ahead, I have realised the value of the team needing a plan and specific goals to achieve longer-term objectives.

    • I also liked this quote – it keeps it so simple and rhyme sticks in my head better.
      I like that it makes me think about the necessary precursors to ‘Norm’ in order to get strong and lasting ‘Perform’ance. Just because something is the Norm, doesn’t mean it is best practice, and it requires a clear direction from the time of the team ‘Form’ation to ensure quality ‘Storm’ing, and effective change / implementation of culture.

  2. This formula is used in Project Management. Project Management itself is about teams set up to perform a finite task. The Storm phase is when lots of new things (actions) are taking place, the norming is when these new routines settle into place.

    In terms of a team which perform non-finite activities (ie. our library teams) I see this quote as resounding about a manager who is settling up a new team and creating a new culture, and then getting that towards the “new normal” where the team performs their own roles themselves or together. This is where the group result comes from.

    I must say I like the quote about co-planning too. This is really important for our work as our teams are not always based within our own libraries. Teamwork within schools is oftenj how we work with other people within our schools.

  3. The “coming together” is often not of the team’s choosing and some of the progression can depend on information provided to individual team members. In an instance where different information, and therefore expectations, is provided to individual team members there can be a lot of friction that is sometimes insurmountable. Change management from the outset is an essential component of successful teams.

  4. I like the Henry Ford quote “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” I have seen many examples of teams throughout my career in libraries, some highly successful, some mediocre and some not performing at all. A team needs to have an agreed focus and a commitment to achieving goals for it to be successful. There is always room for different opinions but unless there is a willingness to work together on agreed goals the teams do not succeed. A library team is only truly successful when everyone is on the same page, displaying the same attitudes and beliefs and does not have someone working on their own “agenda” in the background. Teamwork is challenging and often takes up a lot of management time.

  5. With regard to the Henry Ford quote, the keeping together is the hard part – to keep everyone moving towards the same goal/project/end is very difficult.

  6. I relate well to the Henry Ford statement. This is certainly the way that I see success as being achievable in my current small library team, but also the one where success has been less achievable in other situations. As previously mentioned, it is very easy to form a team either by choice or determined by others, but it takes a significant effort from all participants to keep striving towards the common goals or projects and then to sustain that effort to make it work.

  7. The Henry Ford quote most resonates with me, but I would like to add that there is often a careful build up to reaching even that first stage. If the library is already severely misunderstood, there needs to be considerable ground work first. It’s very slow. I tried the Form, storm, norm, perform approach but, with hindsight, I believe it only works where management supports this style of action, and where management actively supports what the library is trying to achieve.

  8. Hi ALIA – can you please advise if I have to setup a new account to change my display name – I would prefer to display as just my first name, Julie. PS Thankyou for this, I hope more people comment, it’s such a complex issue, team work, I could do with more skills!

  9. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” — Henry Ford
    My favourite. It is great when we can work together and it is a success. We all have to work together to make the success of a team. Sometimes this can be very difficult as different people have different skill levels, different backgrounds, etc., but we can also use this to make the team more diverse.

  10. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” — Henry Ford
    I can relate to this statement; particularly at the moment when we are in the process of integrating two teams (with different foci and student cohorts) together so that the student experience is ‘seamless’. Keeping together is progress; particularly when there are problems with team interactions along the way. Working together is success!

  11. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” — Henry Ford
    This one resonates with me because coming up with ideas, or finding examples of great projects and innovations is easy, a team discussion will have everyone keen to promote ebooks or whatever, then keeping on with the steps to make something is much harder, and seeing it through to the accomplishment of the project is rarer still! So many pressures, so much noise in our daily roles that it can be easy to let even the best ideas fall behind, so keeping a team together working steadily towards a common goal really is a strenuous endeavour.

  12. I agree with the quotes. The key to present survival and future growth for the role of teacher librarians and school libraries is a balance between maintaining your own identity as a teacher librarian and the library presence within the school, and seeking collaborative and effective partnerships in school inquiry unit planning, consortia buying blocs for shelf stock and electronic services, communicating within a variety of library professional networks. In coming together as a profession, we sacrifice a little of our present identity, but ultimately contribute to our success as a profession.

  13. I most resonate with the comment made by Henry Ford. “Coming together” is often something that team members have little control over, but is a hugely important phase that requires consideration by the decision makers who need to be clear about why the team is to be formed and communicate that to all team members effectively. Having team members join the team who have been led to have widely differing expectations can face challenges and create challenges. Keeping together requires an attitude of cooperation whilst contributing individual ideas. Success is dependent on commitment from all members and a willingness to not only acccept individual differences, but celebrate their value in working to the end goal.

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