Guest Blogger

Head Start Night at the Library and at #PLA2022

What does your library do with weeded books? Do you, like my library, check them out to discard and send them on their merry way in a cardboard Better World Book Box? What if, instead, you used those weeded books to connect with community partnerships and get books into the hands of people who might not otherwise know about the library?

The three panelists of “From Weeded Books to Growing Partnerships and Nourishing Community” all come from Oregon, and provided three ways to build community partnerships through weeded book giveaways. From laundromats to homelessness encampments, the three panelists all provided excellent insight into their work, but one panelist spoke about a collaboration with Head Start, and my interest was immediately piqued. 

The panelist spoke about their library’s success in having a basket of weeded books for Head Start families to take, and then, they mentioned the phrase that got my creative gears turning: Head Start night at the library. 

According to their slide, these took place regularly, after library hours, in a library space, and dinner and a story/craft was provided, along with a chance to sign up for a library book or take some weeded books home. 

My first thought, as a former Head Start kid, was “That sounds amazing!” and my second thought was, “You couldn’t pay me to stay after hours.” 

Where does that leave us? Inspired to make these connections, and wondering how to make it work in our understaffed libraries. Head Start, to me, is different from another pre-school or elementary school program, and even different from a co-op. 

Have you partnered with Head Start programs in your area? What sort of successes have you had, and how can we turn Head Start families into Library families?  

If not through weeded books, perhaps some other way. I’d love to hear your ideas!

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

Guest conference blogger Aryssa Damron (she/her) is a children’s librarian with the District of Columbia Public Library system and a member of the ALSC membership committee. This is her first PLA, and she’s so excited to attend in person, and present in person on Thursday the 24th! Aryssa is looking forward to learning more about some of the great new books coming out this year and meeting other librarians from around the country. Her favorite snack is grapes and pepperjack cheese, always in the exact same bite.

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