Spring Ahead with Outreach Opportunities

Spring is Here! Prior to the start of Summer Reading Club, Spring is typically filled with planning for the busy summer months. However, this season also allows us time to evaluate existing library partnerships and motivation to create new meaningful connections in the community. When it comes to Youth Services Outreach, the possibilities are endless. There are so many passionate librarians that are thinking outside of the box and finding ways to reach all residents. There are inspiring stories of librarians offering storytime in laundromats or creating floating book collections in barbershops. There are even partnerships between libraries and grocery stores and foodbanks. It’s an exciting time to work in Outreach Services, as we can see the positive impact these efforts make in our communities. One of the most important pieces of Outreach, is establishing relationships. Visiting different daycares and classrooms throughout the year is wonderful, and a service that…

Children’s Librarians are Experts at Partnerships: Meeting the Needs of Special Education Classrooms through Outreach and Advocacy

Last fall, I was approached by a teacher at Asbury Elementary, a public, K-5 school in my library’s service area, about bringing library resources into his special education classroom. As someone with almost no training in special education, forming this partnership has given me a greater awareness of how to best meet the needs of children who experience disabilities, both in the context of school outreach as well as in a traditional public library setting. I’m inspired to gather and share resources with my colleagues on how to effectively reach and serve children who experience a range of developmental, emotional, and physical disabilities, and how quality intersectional literature can aid educators and caregivers in understanding complex identities. Background Enacted in 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) establishes the provision of a free and appropriate public school education for eligible students ages 3–21. According to the The National Center…

Getting Creative: Utilizing Volunteers in Early Literacy Outreach

If your library, like ours, is working with too few staff and is receiving more requests for outreach visits, it might be time to get creative. About a year ago, we attended a wonderful state library conference session presented by Deschutes County in which they described their volunteer outreach program. While their library system is much more robust than our single library, we saw potential in their model for our needs. Below is a series of questions, with some of our answers, that served as a foundation for developing our program. While this outline is by no means exhaustive, and will require customization for your organization, we hope this can spark ideas for your own creative solutions.

Bilingual Outreach at the Doctor’s Office

One of the most formidable aspects of public library work is reaching out to community members who are not current library users. This challenge can be made more daunting when trying to reach immigrant and non-English speaking populations who may not be present at more typical outreach events like back-to-school nights. Meeting these groups where they are is important as many times they have not previously used libraries and are not sure what services we provide or if they are able to get a library card. To bridge this gap, Alexandria Library staff members have been visiting a local doctor’s office in a low-income Hispanic neighborhood for the last three years. Every Monday morning at 8:30am, Patricia Amaya and Christian Reynolds arrive wearing aprons embroidered with the library logo to engage parents and children while they wait for their appointments. Patricia, a native Spanish speaker, talks with adults about what the…

Last Year’s “Light the Way” Grant Winner: Partnering with Juvenile Detention Facilities to Provide Maker-Space Outreach and Programming Using Music

The J. Lewis Crozer Library in Chester and the Middletown Free Library are located just over six miles apart in southeastern Pennsylvania. However, the libraries’ service populations are very different. The city of Chester has an unemployment rate of 9% and a poverty rate of 33%, with almost half of those under the age of 18 living in poverty. The city of 34,000 is also among the most diverse in the state, with a population that is approximately 75% African American, 17.2% White, and 9% Hispanic. Middletown has a suburban population of 15,807, which is 93.7% White and 3.1% African-American, and a median annual income of $77,000. However, the two libraries have a shared goal of expanding outreach and programming offerings for young people who are underserved by libraries.

The ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved” Grant is now open!

Is your library reaching out to the underserved children, caregivers and families in your community?  Does your library need funding for an innovative idea or expansion to provide a service or program for this population?   The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee (LSUCTC) are now accepting online applications for the 2018 Light the Way: Library Outreach to the Underserved grant. This $3,000 grant, made possible by Candlewick Press in honor of Newbery Medalist and Geisel Honoree author Kate DiCamillo, will go to a library conducting exemplary outreach to underserved populations through a new program or an expansion of work already being done. The winning project should be well thought-out, appropriate to the target population, doable, and replicable by other libraries. Each applicant will be judged on the following: Project Information- The outline should include goals, measures of success,…

Housing Community Outreach

My library is currently serving 16 Child Care Centers on a bimonthly basis and are hoping to start reaching our children and their families in a new way. We are working on a program where we provide storytimes, early literacy workshops and play programs at a housing community in our service area. We would ideally  provide a small collection of gift and donation books that can be used by the community I reached out to a fellow librarian who has done some community based outreach to ask a few questions. Me: Describe your program including population served and services provided. Cammy: STAR (Summertime Access to Reading) was created by School Board Chairwoman, Carrie Coyner. Little Free Libraries (LFL) were planted all over the county and filled with books to insure that children within neighborhoods have constant access to books. Each LFL also had community events through the summer. My library…