Gimme a C (for Collaboration): The Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit is here!

The AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation (SPLC) is pleased to announce the publication of the Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit.  This toolkit is the result of a three-year collaborative effort with members of AASL, ALSC and YALSA. It is a collection of information, research, and examples that will help facilitate and incorporate collaborative initiatives between public and school libraries.

The Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit is organized into five chapters, and includes helpful links for additional examples or information.

  • “Getting Started” provides tips for identifying potential partners for collaboration, as well as suggestions for initial partnerships and etiquette tips. Even without specific projects in mind, this chapter outlines communication strategies that help to establish relationships with collaborators both within and outside of your library space.
  • “Why School-Public Library Partnerships Matter” highlights research that supports collaborative library initiatives. Whether in a public or school library, all librarians seek to promote literacies and prepare young people for the future. When library communities work together to meet their patrons’ needs, the impact of their efforts is greatly increased. This chapter cites specific research that highlights collaborative opportunities, including summer learning programs and digital literacy. An extensive bibliography and testimonials are also available.
  • “Successful School-Public Library Partnerships” provides snapshots of a variety of collaborative projects currently in place, as well as contact information. These programs range from simple assignment notifications to more complex and long-term system-wide projects across all ages. Additional examples can be found on the School/Public Library Cooperative Programs page on the ALSC website: http://www.ala.org/alsc/schoolplcoop.
  • “Continuing the Partnership” contains suggestions for continuing collaborative school-public library efforts, specific to both public and school librarians and staff. These include ideas for reflecting on, evaluating and updating collaborative programs, as well as suggesting useful tools for project management, and continuing communication and conversations. There are also ideas for celebrating your success and sharing outcomes with your community. Since partnerships are constantly changing due to staffing, completed programs, or modified initiatives, collaborative efforts need to be monitored and revisited to ensure continued partnerships. Links to a variety of extra resources are included.
  • Finally, “Templates & Additional Resources” provides a variety of planning guides, communication templates, and other resources to help you implement collaborative programming.  Resources include email templates for initiating collaborations, educator card applications, book set cards, assignment notification forms, and collaborative planning templates. These templates are appropriate for both school and public librarians.

This toolkit is a resource useful for ALL librarians and library staff working with children, students, and teens in public and school settings. We hope that the Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit inspires your own collaborative efforts.

Shannon Harris is the Upper School Librarian at Durham Academy in Durham, North Carolina. She is currently serving on the AAUP Book Selection Committee, as well as the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Joint Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation.

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