Ask An Agent: How Do You Partner with Schools?

askanagent2You’ve got questions,  we’ve got answers! Our volunteer Agents are on the job! Here’s what they have to say this week….

Question:  What ways to you partner with schools in your community (beyond providing books and research resources)?



Courtney (MO River Regional Library) says: 

While I do a lot of general promotion to schools to tell them about our resources, I am currently co-leading a “Literary Art Club” after school with one of our local middle schools. We do a different project every week in the school library and then we put on an art show at the public library a week or two before school lets out for the year. I also have one of our rural schools come in annually for database demonstration and focused research time for their final English papers.

Kelsey (Burnham Memorial Library) says: 

We’re lucky here in VT in that a lot of local organizations provide grant opportunities for programs that require school partnership with a public library! I realize not everyone has something like this, but maybe there are grants you’d like to apply for that would work really well as a school/library partnership and it could be a way to start building a better relationship for more types of partnerships in the future. I also tend to visit the schools a lot–so I get asked to help out as a volunteer with random things. I’ve been part of a bakesale, Scholastic Book Fair, and musical. Usually this morphs into a “so, while you’re here, can you help with x?” and as much as possible I try to make the answer an enthusiastic yes! We do an unusual amount of partnering when it comes to college and test prep with our high school. We provide the free practice test sessions, and the guidance department provides us with students. But I also visit for college nights, career nights, and awards night. Hope that helps!

Nicole (Indianapolis Public Library) says: 

When I worked with Teens we collaborated with the local high school librarian that was a few blocks down from our location. We had monthly TAB meetings where we had snacks to attract students. We used this time to plan programs with their input and also to see if they wanted to create a program of their own and then sharing the programs at each location, usually one at the high school and the next at the public library. We would always ask what we (both public and their high school library) could do better to reach them; whether that was making the Teen space more comfortable and welcoming, books they were interested in, authors they would love to meet or talk to. Once a year we would also do a Library Card sign up event where both public and the high school library would sign students up for cards, promote programs, resources and the library in general, and also waive fees up to certain amounts.

Nicole (Pelham Public Library) says: 

We have worked with our local schools in the following ways this academic year:

• Scholastic book sales together with middle school hosted via our Friends of the Library group
• Host programs at the middle school and high school – craft programs, pizza parties
• Teachers bring students to the library to work on projects that we have resources for – this works as we are geographically very close to the school complex so it is possible for teachers and students to take a field trip to our building
• Librarians visit classrooms to introduce themselves and to sign students up for library cards – we facilitated this through our local middle school’s media specialist
• Librarians attend a teacher workshop to introduce themselves and to pass out library card forms to encourage teachers to join the library – this was a great way to put the library out there and to meet almost all of the school district’s faculty
• Young Adult librarian attends Comic Book Club at middle school. We subscribe to Recorded Books’ “Comics Plus” and share that with students and teachers
• Children’s librarian has story time once a month with the kindergarten classes at the elementary school

The best partnership I have found within our local public schools is working directly with a school’s library staff/media specialist. This has helped us immensely in creating a relationship with the schools as a whole as well as getting to know administrators, teachers, and students who do not typically visit the library after school.