Blogger Angela Reynolds


I recently had a meeting with the Elementary Literacy Consultant at our local school board. Our library region covers the same area as the school board, so that is convenient for us (unlike some large library systems that may have more than one school district). I requested a meeting for a couple of reasons– to listen, and to find out how we can get more teachers using our collections. School libraries have small budgets (and library staff in schools is slim). Students still need access to a wide variety of quality books, and we have them! So how do I get them into the classrooms?alsc sign

After my meeting, I had a few takeaways and some work to do. I am preparing an invitation to all teachers at all schools to get a library card. I am trying to make it easy– sending them a registration form and outlining the services we have. Our library offers an “institutional” card to teachers — they can check out as many items as they need for their classroom, and keep them for 6 weeks (our normal check-out period is 3 weeks) — and they do not pay overdue fines. It is a good deal – but only if they know about it!

I also plan to create more online booklists with teachers in mind. I asked for (and received!) a curriculum outline–a simple guide to the subjects that are being studied, for each grade. As new books come in, I can now target them for lists or for adding to my blog, which I started with our own library staff in mind. The new books cross my path before they hit the shelves, and as I am addicted to picture books, I can’t help taking piles of them home and making notes. Now I have new ways to look at these books, and I’ve added a section “Of Interest to Teachers” in upcoming blog posts.

With a new focus on teaching from children’s books rather than textbooks, I see this as a win-win opportunity. I’m always looking for ways to make our collection more accessible to our community, and now I have a few ideas for reaching out to teachers. What do you do? How do you partner with schools? How do you get the books into the hands of teachers and students? Let’s hear your ideas!


  1. Jennifer Brown

    Hi Angela,

    I work for Virginia Beach Public Libraries and we have been working with the schools for some time. To get books into the hands of the classrooms and therefore the kids we have something that is called an institute card. We are able to give the school as a whole a library card that will allow the classes and the library media specialist to checkout books to supplement their curriculum on a regular basis.

    We have a partnership with the Title I schools in the area during the summer in order to help with Summer Slide. Additionally, in my service area (we’ve broken the city up into service areas) I work with the kindergarteners in the Title I schools in an effort to encourage and continue their enjoyment of reading that they seem to naturally have in preschool and carry it on into elementary school. I began by contacting the library media specialists in the school and told them that I could come in and provide a 45 minute program to the kindergarteners once a month that supports what the teachers are already doing in the classroom. The library media specialist then asked the principle for permission, and then contacted the lead kindergarten teacher to ask if this was something they were interested in. From there, I keep in touch once a month and ask for their curriculum so I can build a program around it. Last year I visited five classes a month, and this year, it looks like we will be expanding into a second school and will be potentially visiting a total of 21 classes once a month.

    My mentality is that it doesn’t hurt to ask. I start with the library media specialists because the principles are typically too busy with other things to pay much attention to me, but if one of the staff comes forward, then they take it a little more seriously. Other staff you can contact are the reading specialists. I hope this helps. If you want to chat, feel free to contact me 🙂 – Jennifer

  2. Angela Reynolds

    Wow, Jennifer, you must be busy. And how lucky for your local schools that you have such a great partnership. Since I wrote this blog post, I have been scheduled for 13 school presentations! I think I am going to be busy as well.

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