Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Supporting Our Community Through Partnerships: Social Services

My library system in Las Vegas, NV has been extremely fortunate to have found such amazing partnerships over the last couple years to bring services to our community that we would have never have had before.  Two of my favorite are partnering with Three Square (, a local food bank, who provides free lunch every day after school for children and teens ages 0-18, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ (UNLV) America Reads, America Counts (, a free tutoring service also available every day.  Both partners pay for their own staff to facilitate the programs and utilize our branches to host these wonderful services. My branch in particular, the Spring Valley Library, is located in one of the most impoverished areas of Las Vegas.  We host both programs and serve over 50 lunches each day and equally that many students and more are able to take advantage of our…

Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Creating a Conversation with The Seventh Wish

In 2017, Harford County, Maryland has had more than 400 opioid overdoses, compared to 246 last year, 79 of those being fatal. We are not alone in this terrible epidemic that is affecting all parts of our communities. What can a public library do to support the community in the face of this epidemic? The answer came to me last year after reading The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner—create a conversation starter based on the community reading this relevant book.  

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Bilingual Outreach at the Doctor’s Office

One of the most formidable aspects of public library work is reaching out to community members who are not current library users. This challenge can be made more daunting when trying to reach immigrant and non-English speaking populations who may not be present at more typical outreach events like back-to-school nights. Meeting these groups where they are is important as many times they have not previously used libraries and are not sure what services we provide or if they are able to get a library card. To bridge this gap, Alexandria Library staff members have been visiting a local doctor’s office in a low-income Hispanic neighborhood for the last three years. Every Monday morning at 8:30am, Patricia Amaya and Christian Reynolds arrive wearing aprons embroidered with the library logo to engage parents and children while they wait for their appointments. Patricia, a native Spanish speaker, talks with adults about what the…

Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Light, Camera, Action: When libraries make community partnerships, video magic is made!

As a Hip-Hop music fan since I was young it was very exciting to be involved in a project that combined this popular music genre with reading, libraries and families for a true recipe for success!  It all started with Adult Services Librarian Katie Rothley who used her talents to turn the popular rap anthem “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled into “All I Do Is Read”. From there it was decided that young voices were needed to bring the song to life. 

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, 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…