Part 4 - Embrace the Embers - School/Library Partnerships - Take 2

This is the fourth post in a series I did in 2009 on school and public library cooperation. Any effort we make to partner with schools is a great effort and the simplest thing can reap rich rewards for all the kids in our community!

"But Marge", you say, "we just are so overwhelmed. We want to do great partnerships but time, money, staff and energy are hard to come by. What can we do?" Lots! There are plenty of laid-back partnerships and efforts that even a part-time, one person library staffer can do.

Email Newsletters to School
Periodically mail out a brief, colorful newsletter to school staff (through each school's office - with permission of the principal of course) with children's lit or book news; services you offer; invites to take field trips to the library; suggestions of great new book read-alouds and maybe an announcement or two of perfect programs for school-agers. This kind of communication breaks down barriers and let's your colleagues know about the library and your services and collections.

Invite Classes to Visit
Field trips are fun and you can make them more inviting by using a stuffed book character as tour host for younger kids (Clifford; Very Hungry Caterpillar; Maisy) or jazzing up field trips for older kids by exploring non-fiction and making origami or cataloging and shelving the kids or playing Book Character Bingo in the fiction. Make the library fun and they will come!

Outreach Visits to the Schools
These are absolute bread-and-butter! Outreach gets you out of the library and into the schools where kids are. Offer to come to Literacy Nights and Parent Nights, do storytelling at schools, present book talks - and leave the books in the classroom for a month for kids to devour - and never forget - summer reading promotional visits are some of the best times to reach out to kids and entice them into good reading fun in the summer.

Art Displays
Offer to transform the library into an art gallery for student art and host a reception for the young artists and their families. Art teachers are often looking for end-of-the-year venues to display their students' creativity and the library makes a great gallery!

Book Lists
We often develop these to help staff and patrons find goodies in the collection. But consider developing graded booklists before summer and distributing to the schools. By recommending books that are age appropriate and in the collection, you make kids successful searchers during the summer for reads. Many teachers support these efforts and would love a list like this.

No matter where you are in partnerships with your schools, these ideas can really sparkle and help you create closer relationships with your school colleagues. A big tip of the hat to all my peeps on PUBYAC for sharing ideas and making me think about the vitality of school and library partnerships!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 5


  1. One of our elementary schools uses the library for their art show each year. They bring over display boards, set everything up, and then have a little open house in our lobby with punch and cookies. We get a lot of patrons who don't normally come to the library looking at their kids' art. This doesn't happen every year - sometimes the teachers don't have money or time, sometimes the art teacher was forced into retirement and there's nobody to run it. Last year the library donated cookies b/c the teachers were paying for them themselves.

  2. Whatever you can do for and with your local public schools is a fantastic thing. I am fortunate to work in a small rural town, with a school district of about 2,000 kids. Every Friday, I go read to the Kindergarten classes - they are all in one lower elementary building. I read to the pre-schools, invite said preschools and kindergartens to visit the library. Today I went to the high school and participated with a dozen teens in the after school book cafe the high school media gals put on, discussing the Classics. I partner with the Welcoming Schools to run a monthly playgroup for children 5 and younger and their parents. I do work 40 hours a week and keep very busy!

    1. I love your ideas and agree 100%. It keeps you busy but you are rewarded far beyond the effort you put in!!