The coolest thing about forming partnerships between libraries, city agencies and community-based organizations is that they seem to develop exponentially.’ Maybe it’s just the nature of networking, maybe it’s that, like librarians, social workers and case managers in service agencies are used to doing more with less.’ Whatever the reason, every partnership I’ve gone into with folks in other youth-serving agencies has been worth more than the sum of its parts.
A great example is a project I worked on that began when a social worker from the Legal Aid Society I knew participating in city-wide committees and interest groups, asked for my advice on organizing a literacy event for her clients.’ The Legal Aid Society is the oldest non-profit in the US and represents 90 percent of the children who appear before the Family Court in New York City.’ Many, MANY of their teen clients are there because of educational neglect cases and many struggle with literacy.
So I (along with librarians from the two other library systems in New York City) started working with the staff of the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice and as we planned, more and more organizations and agencies got on board, including a museum and a graduate library school program.’ After months of preparation, we ran a Literacy Carnival attended by over two hundred and fifty kids, teens and parents, with book giveaways, authors, activities, music and more.’ We are already planning for the 2010 event!
There are so many agencies and organizations in every community that interact with teens at various points in their lives and for different reasons, but there is almost always a way we as librarians can add value to those experiences.’ And in turn, partners often bring a whole new group of library users to us.’ What are some of the exciting partnerships and projects you’ve developed in your community?
Partnerships Advocating for Teens Committee Member