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Trust in the Time of COVID

I’m lucky. In the midst of a pandemic, when almost all of the local schools are remote, and with all of the programs that I run for my urban public library system online, I have developed extra-strong partnerships with classroom teachers and school librarians. Some ask me to recommend resources for students. Some invite me to visit classes over Zoom. All eagerly share information about my numerous Zoom book clubs, maker programs, and author visits. As a children’s librarian in a public library, I have always worked closely with my school-based counterparts. But now that everything has moved online, I find my school-based colleagues’ seal of approval more crucial than ever.  Think about it: in the old days, families would wander into the library off the street. They would meet the librarians, see the environment, judge for themselves that the library was a safe space. They would pop in and…

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I Miss My Public Library Partner

I miss my public library counterpart. I don’t work with her every day, and I don’t see her very often, but in these Strange COVID Times, we need each other more than ever. I miss her because she offers me an additional library perspective on my students and their needs. I need her because she can do things in the public library that I just can’t do here. She needs me because this is where the kids are. With many public libraries offering only curbside pick-up and limited services and hours, school is where her patrons are. Library Zoom programs can only go so far. She and I typically offer our middle school families an evening Parent-Child book club. We run this program a few times a year and participation is a tradition for some families. We have great discussions and share pizza and snacks. We talk about the book…

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Working Together When Nothing’s Working

My elementary school-aged daughters are in the midst of virtual learning, and as the stay-at-home parent, so am I! The other day I was sitting by my 3rd grader during her Library class. I heard the excellent school librarian (shout out to Mrs. Robin!) instructing the 6- to 9-year old students on the use of an e-book database; as she showed them how to navigate the interface, Mrs. Robin asked students if they had ever browsed the public library’s e-book collection. My daughter beamed at me as we recalled the many times we have enjoyed my library’s e-audiobooks on family trips, on our way to the store, or as a pre-bedtime listen. It was a small thing and Mrs. Robin quickly moved on with her lesson, but this in-class mention of the public library was a good example of something we all do in our work with children: make connections…

Blogger AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Long (Inter) Division

Besides having the longest committee name in ALSC, the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation has an important task: to foster partnerships between library workers in all types of library agencies. Consisting of members from all three of ALA’s youth-serving divisions (AASL, ALSC, and YALSA), the Interdivisional Committee’s unique make-up is ideal for the collaborative work we do. This year, the Interdivisional Committee has received our charge from the AASL, ALSC and YALSA Presidents-Elect. We are to develop a shared online space for the three divisions to share the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) work done by our members. Ideally, this will be a resource clearinghouse where library staff serving youth in school and public libraries can network and brainstorm together around EDI topics and best practices. While I personally can’t wait to get to work on this project with the members of the Interdivisional Committee, I recognize that…

Blogger AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Libraries Welcome all Families: a conversation with urban high school students about representation in the CT Nutmeg Nominees

Jillian Woychowski is the Library Media Specialist at West Haven High School and a member of the ALA Interdivisional Committee for School and Public Library Cooperation. Kymberlee Powe is the Head of Children’s and Teen Library Services at the West Haven Public Library I am very lucky as a school librarian to work so well with my public librarians.  Our city’s children’s and teen services librarian has held card drives and visits me on a regular basis.  We’ve coordinated getting materials for each other and worked together on summer reading. We also share the experience of serving on our state book award committee.  I served on the high school level 2018 Nutmeg committee and Kym just wrapped serving on the middle grades committee for 2020 (see nutmegaward.org). Being on the committee for a state book is a serious time commitment, requiring reading 75-150 books and monthly meetings to discuss them. For…

Blogger AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Libraries Welcome all Families: Collaborating on Inclusive Summer Initiatives

By SPLC Committee members April Witteveen, Natasha Carty, Jill Woychowski, and Robin Gibson Public libraries are beginning to look ahead to their summer reading or summer learning programs. Through school and public library collaboration librarians can identify approaches for success using an equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) lens. In order to reach as many students as possible with information about library summer programs, a great strategy is to collaborate on school visits. Natasha Carty, who’s been a public librarian, school teacher, and now a school librarian, has seen the value of these visits from all angles. As a public youth librarian, Carty’s school visits resulted in a 50% increase in participation. She’s now looking forward to inviting her local public librarians to school to promote their summer reading program, and she will be investigating if there are ways to get students registered for the program while still in school. Carty…

Blogger AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Libraries Welcome all Families: Makerspace Mondays!

The AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School and Public Library Cooperation is now focusing its work on equity, diversity, and inclusion projects that include library partnerships. This blog post is the first in this new series. The YALSA Call to Action Futures Report challenges libraries to “leverage new technologies and become kitchens for ‘mixing resources’ in order to empower teens to build skills, develop understanding, create and share, and overcome adversity.” In Hampstead, MD, a small town in Carroll County, the media center at Shiloh Middle School assumed that “kitchen” motif on Monday afternoons once a month, as Media Specialist, Holly Furhman, and Amanda Krumrine, Library Associate II, Carroll County Public Library (CCPL), partnered to provide a variety of STEM experiences to middle schoolers on Makerspace Mondays. Makerspace Mondays was born out of the realization that tweens attending this middle school did not have transportation to the CCPL during the week…

Blogger AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Children’s Librarians are Experts on Partnerships: Community Partnerships to Fund Collection Development for English Learners in Urban Connecticut

Jillian Woychowski is a School Library Media Specialist at West Haven High School and is a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School-Public Library Cooperation. One of the most difficult moments of the month was observing my English Learners come to check out books with their classes and not be able to find anything they could read at the high school level. It broke my heart to see dejection on their faces. It did not matter that I myself could not understand the words they were saying; I could just see it. Students perform better academically in literature courses when they see themselves in the materials and simply enjoy independent reading more. While I had some titles of interest for my Latinx students topically, all of them were in English. I set out to add books to my school library collection to assist my Spanish-speaking students. To purchase fiction…