If your library attended any outreach events at Back to School nights, or you have a school age child, you are probably hearing a lot about joining your local Parent Teacher Organizations. However, have you considered joining the PTA of the schools your library serves? Local PTA chapters are part of the National PTA, which has its roots in the 19th century. The mission of the National PTA is “to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children,” which complements ALSC’s core purpose of “creating a better future for children through libraries.” Public libraries and the PTA go together well because they both work through family engagement to serve children. If you are trying to reach more parents and their children, try partnering with the PTA. Here are my top ten opportunities for the public library to partner with the PTA:
- Hold a Reflections Art Program Celebration at the library. Each year, PTAs can participate in the National Reflections Art Program. This year, the theme is “What is Your Story?” Public librarians are often invited to be judges, so why not hold a multi-school reception at the library for all the winners of the schools you serve.
- Post your library’s events on school PTA Facebook pages.
- Attend PTA meetings and talk about library services, new collections, present information on databases, and give a few booktalks.
- Host a PTA meeting at the library.
- Work with your PTA to create a student assembly program that features librarians, such as a storytelling program.
- Organize a volunteer night at the library for PTA families to work.
- Attend PTA special events, like Reading Night, and set up an outreach table or bring your bookmobile.
- Sponsor a prize basket of books at the PTA Basket BINGO.
- Make your case to have the public library as a PTA sponsored field trip.
- Work with the PTA to create a One Book/ One School Program, including book discussions and literacy information for families.
What library success stories do you have working with the PTA?
Jackie Cassidy is the Havre de Grace Branch children’s librarian for Harford County Public Library, Maryland and is serving on the Liaison to National Organizations Committee for ALSC.