This post is written by Charlotte Steinecke, communications manager at the Afterschool Alliance.

Photo of youth working together at the Kent County (MD) Public Schools

Libraries and afterschool programs just click. We share so many passions, like fostering lifelong learning, encouraging family engagement, and serving the members of our community with the greatest need. It’s not uncommon for many libraries to host their own afterschool programs or to partner with local programs to make the most of their pooled resources and expertise. Together, we become champions for engaging children and young people in exciting, engaging learning opportunities during the school year and beyond.

That’s why we want to invite library staff to Lights On Afterschool!

On Thursday, October 25, approximately 8,000 afterschool programs across the country will open their doors to one million Americans in the nation’s only rally for afterschool. It’s a day to celebrate out-of-school time learning programs and everything they do to keep our kids safe and engaged after the school bell rings.

For the second year in a row, one of the top themes for Lights On Afterschool is library and afterschool partnerships. Hundreds of libraries are taking Lights On Afterschool as an opportunity to connect and deepen partnerships with their local afterschool programs. Now is the time for library staff to connect with a local afterschool programs to see how to get involved in their Lights On Afterschool event, or consider hosting your own! 

Get inspired by some of what’s planned across the country for Lights on Afterschool:

  • The UMOM New Day Center in Phoenix, AZ operates on a homeless family shelter campus. As a part of their Lights On Afterschool activity they are showing their classrooms and inviting parents, children and administration to play games together.
  • The Hands On Reading program in Burnsville, WY is hosting an open house with invitations sent to elected officials at the local, county, state and national level. Those attending the program will get to see what students learn in afterschool.
  • In Gravette, AR,The Gravette Public Library will host Moon Over Main Street, a star party, in coordination with the Sugar Creek Astronomical Society. Preceding the event, the library will host an open house featuring its new Maker Space.

Some ways to start a conversation and build a relationship with a local afterschool program:

  • Offer to serve as the location of the Lights On Afterschool event
  • Offer to help out with the event in planning and/or implementation
  • Promote and attend events taking place across your community

Afterschool programs and libraries are a great match—we hope you’ll celebrate each other’s strengths during Lights On Afterschool!

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