Nurturing the Fire - School/Library Partnerships - Part 2

Ok, your teachers have fine-free and extended loan cards; you provide classroom collections and you are getting to know the schoool folks. What's next?

School Van Delivery
Many districts have a van(s) that make deliveries between sites. If you can arrange weekly or biweekly school van stops at the library to pick up and drop off materials, it is money in the bank. This takes a little initial negotiation but if this can be arranged, it creates a way to get materials, information and projects back and forth between the school and public libraries. For parochial schools, seek out willing parent-partners from each school willing to help with these kinds of deliveries.

Outreach Visits to the Schools
This is bread and butter stuff! Let your schools know you are available to come to Literacy Nights, offer storytelling at schools, consider book talking, present at parent nights, and the ubiquitous summer reading promo visits. All these activities stress the public library's literacy role and expertise.

Cooperative Winter Reading Program
Many schools run their own winter reading-encouragement programs -why not see if school staffers are interested in pooling resources, talent and ideas to create one community-wide effort. Working together can result in a program run by the schools and supported by the public library. Perhaps the library can provide design or printing muscle; extra programs and even small incentives to encourage kids to stop by during the reading program weeks.

Kids Read One Book
Classrooms make great partners in this kind of project. Work closely with a committee from the school to select a title; seek out funding together and provide book discussions at the schools as well as the library. With enough lead time this can be a tremendous project.

Author/Illustrator Visits
Another gimme! If you are bringing in a book creator, partner with the schools and other local organizations to give the author plenty of places to present and a great way to support both schools and public library. Our most successful ongoing project involved working with colleagues to bring in authors for third graders on an annual basis. We were able to sustain interest and funding from the library, PTOs and community funding sources for many years.

Watch for Part 3 when we start to get really jiggy with it.

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