Blogger Alexa Newman

Engaging Your Community : What Does That Mean?

A definition Community engagement is an important emerging trend in public libraries.  What, exactly, is community engagement, you ask? Well, according to Dr. Crispin Butteriss of Bangthetable.com, it can be described as both a process and an outcome.  In other, words it is both a noun and a verb.  Butteriss further describes it as “the process of getting people better connected into the community and for ensuring that the services they were designing me[e]t the specific needs of the people they are working with.” Applying the principles of community engagement specifically to libraries has been the focus of ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative.  The LTC initiative “seeks to strengthen librarians’ roles as core community leaders and change-agents.” On a regional level, RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System) has formed a community engagement networking group. I am my library’s youth liaison to the community.   I do outreach with several different agencies,…

AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Gimme a C (For Collaboration!): Coding, Collaboration, and Community

Earlier this year, the Westerville Public Library was awarded a LSTA Summer Library Program Grant through the State Library of Ohio that allowed us to purchase robots (Kibo, Dash & Dot, and Sphero SPRK+) to extend our already popular in-house technology programs. But we also wanted to reach children who might never make it to the public library. During June and July of 2017, we collaborated with the Westerville City Schools Summer Intervention program to visit 3rd and 4th graders–many of whom had never been to a public library– to introduce students to basic coding with our new robot partners. Experience: The intrinsic appeal of learning with robots instantly captured students’ attention. We met one of the main goals–increasing interest in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math)–right away, as most students had no prior hands-on experiences with robotics. We emphasized basic coding concepts and the engineering design process: ask,…

Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Growing a Partnership – Public Libraries and Public Transportation

Most successful partnerships don’t happen overnight. They can take time, sometimes even years, to develop. Partnerships that begin simply can grow into something wonderful when they are cultivated and given time to blossom. I’d like to share a success story from my library in Knoxville, TN. As two government agencies that serve many of the same community members, the Knox County Public Library (KCPL) and Knoxville Area Transit (KAT), have worked together casually for many years. The central library and many library branches are located along KAT bus and trolley routes. As a resource to our patrons, KCPL provides space for KAT to display brochures and maps of these routes, and public transportation makes it possible for many of our patrons to travel to the library. Source: Knoxville Area Transit A couple of years ago, the partnership between KCPL and KAT began to really grow into something special. When making…

Partnerships

Summer at the Movies with the Library

Summer blockbusters, popcorn, and a reprieve from the hot weather. All things that conjure up pleasant memories of summer at the movies for many, I’m sure. What about adding library programming and awesome librarian superstars to the movie-going experience? This summer San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) has teamed up with a local movie theater, the Alamo Drafthouse at the New Mission, to partner on their Kids Camp. Kids Camp runs from May to August at the theater and is a way for kids and their families to affordably see films together with low ticket prices at just $1 – $5, with all proceeds going to local non-profits. On Wednesdays the films are free so SFPL staff has been facilitating pre-show crafts weekly in the lobby. Library staff also get to introduce the film and talk up Summer Stride and get some time in the spotlight! Did I mentioned that the…

Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Sharing a Love of Reading – Prime Time Family Reading

Prime Time Family is a national family engagement program designed to build a love of reading.  In 2012 the program was brought to Washington State by Humanities Washington’s Family Reading program.  The King County Library System began offering Prime Time in 2012 in partnership with Humanities Washington at one elementary school in our service area.  It has since grown to six weekly sessions in 4-6 libraries each year. Prime Time Family Reading is curriculum-based.  The curriculum, created by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities in 1991, emphasizes the importance of families reading together to discuss significant cultural and ethical themes. The program creates a precondition for future learning by empowering parents and caregivers of 6-10 year olds to help their children enjoy reading and improve their reading abilities. Over the six weeks, families with children ages 3-10 participate in weekly 90-minute sessions held in the evening at King County Library…

AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): Working Together to Beat Summer Slide

Summer Slide is the term for lost school achievement growth that can occur over the summer. Researchers have found that students from low income families can especially be affected, losing between 2 to 3 months in their reading levels during this time. Unfortunately, this can add up, leaving many students as much as 2 ½ to 3 years behind their peers. Children who read during the summer are more likely to have their achievement remain steady or modestly increase. School and public librarians can work together to help solve this problem. The Role of School Librarians Before the school year ends, school librarians can start a book distribution program with community partners to ensure children have books to read. In Durham (County) NC, we have partnered with Book Harvest to provide two free books to students in the school system. Prior to that partnership, I allowed for summer book check…