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,…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Last Year’s “Light the Way” Grant Winner: Partnering with Juvenile Detention Facilities to Provide Maker-Space Outreach and Programming Using Music

The J. Lewis Crozer Library in Chester and the Middletown Free Library are located just over six miles apart in southeastern Pennsylvania. However, the libraries’ service populations are very different. The city of Chester has an unemployment rate of 9% and a poverty rate of 33%, with almost half of those under the age of 18 living in poverty. The city of 34,000 is also among the most diverse in the state, with a population that is approximately 75% African American, 17.2% White, and 9% Hispanic. Middletown has a suburban population of 15,807, which is 93.7% White and 3.1% African-American, and a median annual income of $77,000. However, the two libraries have a shared goal of expanding outreach and programming offerings for young people who are underserved by libraries.

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…

Early Literacy

Drag Queen Story Hour

Drag Queens at the Library? Yes! Drag Queens at the library reading picture books? Definitely YES!! Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) was created in San Francisco, CA by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions.  It has since expanded to New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and a multitude of other cities. Libraries all over the country are embracing this program with open arms! DQSH is a delightful celebration of diversity and gender fluidity. It gives children and their families and caregivers positive role models who break gender stereotypes, and encourage children to be exactly who they want to be. Check out below to see what three librarians think about bringing the program to their libraries, and to see a few photos!   From the New York Public Library, Early Literacy Coordinator, Eva Shapiro, says “Drag Queen Story Hour is a wonderful addition to the New York Public Library’s early literacy programming. This…

Blogger Meg Smith

NASA @ My Library Offers Spectacular Science

As a NASA @ My Library grant recipient, Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center receives STEM kits, technology, and resources to share with our community. Our role as a NASA @ My Library Partner aligns with our mission, “the library opens windows to the world by encouraging expression, enlightenment, and exploration,” with NASA @ My Library’s goal to strengthen STEM learning opportunities for library patrons in underserved areas. Our Youth Services Leadership team, composed of professional librarians from all eight public library locations, has already met to review grant requirements, collaborate on programming initiatives, and to coordinate these NASA-related STEM programs through system-wide planning. Our public library’s partnership with Fascinate-U Children’s Museum will offer opportunities for museum and public library collaboration through STEM programming. Our staff will partner with a local Title One public elementary school, with a high percentage of minority students and the county’s only elementary school with…