Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Connecting with Local Officials @ the Library

When thinking about new partnerships to cultivate at your library, your local elected officials may not be the first people to come to mind—especially if they are not already library supporters. However, there can be significant benefits to creating partnerships with your local officials. You can show the impact of libraries firsthand, engage in direct advocacy, and connect the community with their elected officials. At Ramsey County Library, in suburban Saint Paul, Minnesota, we chose National Library Week as a perfect opportunity to invite members of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners to visit storytimes as special guest stars.  Inviting them for a specific event and purpose really allowed us to set the expectations of what would happen and what we wanted to accomplish. Rather than seeing this as simply inviting someone to “read a book to kids,” we framed it as an opportunity for the Commissioners to visit the…

Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Libraries Partner with Community Agencies to Help Fight Food Insecurity

The Realities of Food Insecurity Food insecurity is a growing problem across the nation. Food security is a federal measure of a household’s ability to provide enough food for every person in the household to have an active, healthy life. Food insecurity is one way to measure the risk of hunger. Currently in the United States, 1 in 8 people struggle with hunger.[1] Food insecurity can cause individuals and families to make extremely difficult choices between buying food and paying bills. These choices can affect the ability of children to learn and grow, the ability of seniors to seek critical healthcare, and can cause health complications for people of all ages. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 41.2 million people lived in food- insecure households in 2016. 8 million adults lived in households with very little food security and 6.5 million children lived in food-insecure households.[2] This problem…

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 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…