Let it Go…the End of a Partnership

Creating and sustaining a partnership between your library and another community organization can be a feather in your professional cap; both the entities meet their goals, you get to shine in the eyes of administrators, and future possibilities seem endless.’  Then…Something changes.’  Communication fades.’  The project that went so smoothly one week/month/year ago seems to suddenly be covered in obstacles.’  Cue hair-tearing and a bevy of emotions connected to what we think should be happening.’  Should I have written more email?’  Less email?’  Should I have set different goals?’  Should I just wait and see if things get better?

Regardless of the answers to these questions, guilt or fear of failure needn’t keep you from an eyes-wide-open assessment that could lead to the end of the partnership or project.’  Linda Braun’s recent YALSA Blog article on how to fail offers particular insight: “…at the end of the process look at what worked and didn’t work and then decide next steps. What were you looking for in the partnership and did you achieve that – why/why not?”

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Preparing students for Life After High School.

Free Events for Life After High SchoolFor me, my focus on helping teens transition from high school to adulthood began during the recession. I was working the help desk and there was a customer who was trying to complete the FAFSA on a paid website. I redirected them to FAFSA.ed.gov, but a few days later there was another customer who was doing a similar thing, only they had paid $80 for someone to fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

It may be the beginning of the school year, but one of my focuses this year is partnering with other organizations to ensure that accurate information gets to students and recent grads about college and alternatives to college. Continue reading

Back to School: Building the Resume

Many libraries are in a great position to help teens develop skills and experience they can add to their resume. Whether it be volunteering on a regular basis or honing graphic design or other useful technology proficiency, teens can gain that needed edge through the library for when they seek out other opportunities.

Last school year, I stumbled across a program at my local public school system that gives students school credit for being part of a library program such as volunteering! What a win-win situation for all! Read on for more details on how the program works. Continue reading

Back to School: iBooks Author

Whether you’re a school librarian or a public librarian, this is a great time to start considering how to work with teachers or school library media specialists in the coming school year. With so few schools being able to afford to have librarians anymore (an issue for another time), public librarians are in a great position to offer their support and create a mutual network between school teachers where both parties can learn and benefit. And school librarians can do the same.

This year I was inspired by an English teacher at my school who used iBooks Author to create an interactive textbook for her sixth graders. Since the units she was teaching involved folk tales, fairy tales, and mythology around the world, iBooks Author allowed her to compile myriad resources, from text to images to videos, into one place for her students. Then, because iBooks are for Internet-enabled devices, of course, those same resources can then be clicked on and link the students to the sources they come from so they can learn even more about what they’re reading. Goodbye to the readers I used in high school and college, where short stories and essays on our syllabus were compiled into a cheaply bound booklet after the library and the bookstore collaborated to get the legal rights squared away. Continue reading

Community Partners: Teen Services in a Rural Library

Taiko Drums

An interactive Taiko performance–forming new connections brings fresh knowledge to the library.

Rural librarianship can mean a small staff, but it can also mean a tight-knit community full of residents and organizations happy to share their knowledge. Working with other organizations and local experts helps maximize impact and expand services to new audiences without overburdening librarians.’ How do you find new partners? Leave the library!

Earlier this week, April Witteveen wrote an installment in the YALSA Blog’s Back to School series about making new connections within the school system. ‘ She recommends “stepping outside your comfort zone” which’ also applies to forming community partnerships. If you want to form a partnership to deliver new programming opportunities, step outside the building and strike up a conversation.’ ‘  Continue reading

Back to School: Making New Connections

With the end of summer reading and learning programs on the horizon, thoughts turn to the quickly approaching school year (perhaps with a well-earned vacation in between…). ‘ For front-line public librarians, it’s a new year full of opportunities to make connections with area school library staff. ‘ Perhaps you’ve tried this type of outreach in the past with minimal success; maybe there’s been a staffing change at a school where you’ve had a continuous presence but now you’re not sure how things will go. ‘ If you’re lucky enough to have excellent relationships that will pick up right where you left off…well, leave us your advice in the comments!

This is not a time to be retreating, this is a time to sell your incredible and unique services and support for both students and teachers. ‘ Stepping outside your comfort zone and making a tough cold call, email, or in-person visit can yield amazing results. ‘ Here are some ideas on how you could get started:

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Partnership Profile: Library Linx

In these days of budget cuts and less than optimal school libraries and school library staffing, what can a public library system do to help?’  Many of us front-line youth and teen services librarians work diligently to make and foster connections with teachers, administrators, and school media specialists with varying degrees of success.’  Nearly ten years ago in 2005, my employer, Deschutes Public Library (DPL) ,was ready to take the next step: enter Library Linx.

As stated on DPL’s website,

“Library Linx is a partnership between Deschutes County schools and Deschutes Public Library. It provides the opportunity for students and teachers to place holds on public library materials and have the materials delivered to their school. The materials are then checked out in the school’s media center by the media manager/specialist. It creates library users out of students who might not otherwise be able to visit a public library, and allows for teachers to have quick and easy access to materials that supplement what they have at school.”

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YALSA Board @ Annual Preview: Programming and Collaborations Best Practices

YALSA’s Future of Library Services for and with Teens report highlights “partnering strategically to reach beyond the library’s walls” as one of the five fundamental elements that will need to shift in order for libraries and communities to successfully work for and with teens” (p. 21-24).

On the YALSA Board agenda for discussion at Annual is a proposal to discuss what resources would be most helpful to members in this area – is it best practices document, a toolkit, coaching or something else entirely?

You can read the full proposal when the Board documents go online next week.

Please share your thoughts with me, Maureen Hartman or on twitter: mlhartman, YALSA President Shannon Peterson or any other Board member via e-mail or twitter so we can respond with the best solution for members.