It may be tempting to focus on partnerships with the school system just during the traditional school year; however, planning partnerships year round can help ensure planning is collaborative and programs are maximized. For Cumberland County Public Library and Information Center in North Carolina, we have several projects in the planning stages that will serve as opportunities for collaboration between the school system and the public library during the next year.
Cumberland County Coding Camps
Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center partnered with Cumberland County Schools and Workforce Development Board to provide free coding camps to underserved youth in the community to strengthen skills in digital literacy. These week long summer day camps are housed in low income neighborhoods in community recreation centers. Participants gain skills through daily coding sessions on topics of interest to them. Youth gain insight from area speakers sharing details of their military and technology careers and visit Fayetteville Technical Community College and Fayetteville State University during field trips focused on possible career paths. Public library staff share information regarding library programs focused on digital literacy skills such as summer reading and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) resources available through the public library. Youth receive a free book after participating in the coding camp, provided by the Friends of the Library.
2020 Storytelling Festival
The public library has applied for grant funds from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County to provide a storytelling festival with support from the school system. The 2020 Storytelling Festival theme, “Create Your Own Story,” connects to themes of diversity and inclusion. Various authors and illustrators will share their process creating books. The library will host a writing contest for students, and winners of the workshop will have an opportunity to meet an author. Library staff commit to providing individual Storytelling Festival programs emphasizing creativity and diversity at all eight locations of the public library. This project increases the opportunity for cultural arts experiences by providing the only free Storytelling Festival in the community and provides programs at various locations throughout Cumberland County. School staffers have agreed to promote the student writing contest to their classes as well.
The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County serves more than 300,000 residents of Fayetteville and Cumberland County. For more than 40 years, the Arts Council has ensured growth in our children’s education, our community’s cultural identity and our economic progress. The Arts Council’s grants, programs and services are funded in part by contributions from businesses and individuals and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources.
These are just two of the programs we have in the works for this next fiscal year that will involve exciting partnerships with the school system. Sharing ideas often leads to natural collaboration – what plans do you have in the 2019-2020 school year to partner with your school system? Please share in the comments below!