Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Hosting a Read-In: A Successful University-Public Library Partnership

Over the past several years, my colleagues and I in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Dayton have worked with our local educators to host a “Read-In” on our campus. Local teachers and librarians are invited to our campus in August, right before school begins, to read, discuss books, and get excited for a year of reading with their students.  The day is a wonderful celebration of reading, teaching, learning, and those who work to make all three exciting, enriching parts of children’s lives.

In the beginning, we worked as university faculty to build a list of recent, high quality picture books to gather for a day of reading with local elementary school teachers.  Our goal was to include at least 300 titles, and then request these books from the library to have readily available for attendees.  As both the participant list and the book list grew however, the task of selecting and pulling enough books became unwieldly but through this experience, we stumbled across a fantastic partnership through this experience though, and were so fortunate to encounter willing, knowledgeable, and supportive public librarians. They helped us not only build our list, but also sort and organize the books, and even offered their expertise to speak to our teachers on the day of the Read-In.  Our list now includes over 500 new titles yearly.

The expertise the librarians from our local Dayton Metro Library branches brought to our Read-In team enriched the event in invaluable numerous ways.  One of the librarians, Pat Clingman, was a member of a recent Caldecott committee, and her presentation on her “Top 10” books of the year is always a favorite of the teachers.  Jennifer Buckner brought her expertise of curating the list of books, identifying books for all age levels to attract teachers from across grade levels to come and enjoy the Read-In. Our work as a team of children’s literature professionals demonstrates the truth behind the statement that what we can do together is far more powerful than what we can do alone.

A team that began with two university faculty grew to now include several public librarians and teachers, and continues to evolve today.  The event itself has changed over the years in its format, location, and date, in response to participant feedback and the collaboration of the development team.  This year, the event took on a new format, including a weeklong institute, focused on children’s literature in the classroom.  Tish Wilson, the Chair of the 2019 Caldecott Committee and a retired Dayton Metro librarian, joined our team by speaking to the group of attendees gathered for the week about her favorites from the year.

The strong partnership between the university and the public library is critical to the success of this event and demonstrates the power of local collaboration to enrich the community.


Mary-Kate Sableski is a member of the Building Partnerships Committee and an Assistant Professor and Reading Program Coordinator for the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Dayton, Ohio.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *