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Daddy & Me: A Partnership with Brooklyn Public Library and NYC Department of Corrections

On any given day, the New York City Jails have a population of almost ten thousand inmates.* The Brooklyn Public Library, along with the New York Public Library, have dedicated outreach teams that provide library services through a partnership with the NYC Department of Corrections. In addition to offering library lending services inside the facilities, the library has attempted to create ways to connect the people who are detained to their families and communities. This includes the library Televisit program, which allows families to visit select library locations in order to communicate to incarcerated individuals via video chats, and the Daddy & Me Program that takes place in the jail facilities. Recently I joined my colleague Nick Franklin, the coordinator of Jail and Prison Services for the Brooklyn Public Library, on a bus trip to the NYC Jail located on Rikers Island. We were on our way to Family Day,…

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Getting Creative with Partnerships – Public Libraries and Community Arts Organizations

As children’s librarians, most of us excel at presenting programs based around our professional and educational training – early literacy storytimes, children’s literature book discussions, or library and research skills classes. We all draw from our unique, diverse backgrounds to provide other types of programs as well, in areas like STEAM for instance. However, no one librarian, or even library department or system, can present programs on every topic of interest to their community on their own. Programming is an area where building relationships with other community organizations can be especially beneficial. In particular, organizations related to the creative arts, such as music, theater, and writing, can be a great fit for collaborating with libraries. What are some of the benefits to working with these community arts organizations? Adds variety to the types of library programs available to patrons. Regular patrons will be pleased that you’re providing them with more…

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Who Are Your Library Partners?

Forming partnerships allows libraries to expand their services, share their expertise and strengthen their position in the community. Additionally, working with other organizations to support youth services in libraries is a two-way street, where the partnering organization benefits, as well as the library. The ALSC Building Partnerships Committee helps identify and share information about building effective, cooperative and innovative partnerships. Linked below is our growing list of organizations that support Youth Services. Organizations Supporting Youth Services    We want to hear from you. What successful partnerships has your library cultivated recently? Jackie Cassidy engages children and families in a love of reading and sparks their passion for learning as a librarian at Harford County Public Library in Maryland. She is Co-Chair of the Building Partnership Committee. 

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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…

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Local Firefighters Light a Spark at the Library

If you work in the children’s area of the library, you are probably well aware of the popularity of firefighters and fire trucks with our smallest patrons. Why not partner with your local fire department to bring a special program to your library? My library in Brooklyn, NY has been collaborating for several years with our local firehouse as part of an event called “Read Across Brooklyn.” This event takes place each year in early March, coinciding with Read Across America. During our version of the celebration, each of our library branches read the same book on the same day, and many choose to invite a guest reader from the community.  We have had great luck by inviting a guest reader from the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) to come and read to the Pre-K classes from one of our local elementary schools. In fact, it has been so…

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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…

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Supporting Our Community Through Partnerships: Social Services

My library system in Las Vegas, NV has been extremely fortunate to have found such amazing partnerships over the last couple years to bring services to our community that we would have never have had before.  Two of my favorite are partnering with Three Square (https://www.threesquare.org/), a local food bank, who provides free lunch every day after school for children and teens ages 0-18, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ (UNLV) America Reads, America Counts (https://www.unlv.edu/finaid/work-programs/america-reads-counts), a free tutoring service also available every day.  Both partners pay for their own staff to facilitate the programs and utilize our branches to host these wonderful services. My branch in particular, the Spring Valley Library, is located in one of the most impoverished areas of Las Vegas.  We host both programs and serve over 50 lunches each day and equally that many students and more are able to take advantage of our…

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Joining Forces with Tweens

Communication is Key The foundation of any successful partnership is communication. Partnerships have many forms, from agreements with large institutions, to local organizations, or between individuals. Rather than looking at a partnership from the perspective of two organizations collaborating, I looked at it as an internal relationship between the library and community, specifically the tween community. Before establishing a partnership, most people look into meaning, purpose, and the hopeful outcome of this collaboration. After struggling to connect with teens and multiple unsuccessful program endeavors, I thought about what we could do to ensure that we connected with kids before they became teens. If we focused on strengthening our relationship with the 6-8th graders, then we would have an established partnership and hope that this would carry on into high school, resulting in seeing these teens in our library. Making Your Move We had a group of tweens who would come…