Many libraries are finding ways to connect with their adolescent disparate populations and finding effective ways of cultivating strategic partnerships, implementing innovative outreach strategies, and developing robust communications that target the diverse organizations and populations in their communities.
Where to Start
In working to formulate partnerships a community needs assessment or community resources assessment of the community landscape can provide a great starting point for information and resources that will enable your organization to achieve the following objectives:
- Identify opportunities for forming strategic partnerships with other organizations in your community;
- Identify priority target populations for outreach; and
- Develop action-oriented messages tailored to specific audiences that will help engage your community in your efforts.
“In Africa we have a saying, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ Ponder what it would be like if we went together. Not alone and fast but together and far.” ― Robin Jones Gunn, Coming Attractions
What to Look for in a Partnering Organization
Partnerships should be formed strategically, based on the value the partnership brings to your organization and your clients. Working with organizations that do not have a mission or values that complement your own almost never brings added value to your library!
Strategic partnerships can later develop into stakeholder groups that can leverage greater influence in reaching elected officials and policymakers.
In the state of Vermont, we are dealing the opioid epidemic across the state in a variety of ways. One way is the Governors Opioid Coordinating Council that Governor Phil Scott signed an executive order to establish. The Vermont Governor’s Opioid Coordination Council has 22 members appointed by Governor Scott, representing state and local government, service providers, people who have experienced opioid addiction personally or in their families, law enforcement and emergency responders from all parts of Vermont.
The Vermont Department of Libraries was also invited to be a part of the Coordinating Councils Prevention Committee. Libraries are a vital part of helping youth adjust to adolescence, providing dreamscapes, spurring resilience, and connecting resources to those who might need it most. It is the role of the Vermont Department of Libraries to implement programs and services for libraries so that they can meet the needs of their constituents.
By connecting to other entities with shared missions and visions we can coordinate efforts on literacy, runaway youth, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s), afterschool programming, small and rural libraries, everyday diversity, workforce development, and expanded Summer Reading / Learning / Feeding programming. This is just a small list of collaborations we are beginning to focus on just for youth. So much more can be done when we work together on common goals for the common good.
Success begets success, or “Nothing succeeds like success” ― quote by an anonymous person
ALSC School & Public Library Partnerships
YALSA – Partnering to Increase your impact
Webjunction – Partnership-Collaboration Guide
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Community Partnership Guidebook for Libraries https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201406_cfpb_partner-guidebook.pdf
(Has great information on partnerships with a financial focus for everyone)
Jason Broughton, Assistant State Librarian for Library Advancement at Vermont Department of Libraries is writing this post on behalf of the ALSC Public Awareness Committee. He can be reached at: Jason.Broughton@vermont.gov.