The program below is one of many featured on ALA’s online clearinghouse for school/public library cooperation managed by the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation. Visit the’ clearinghouse to learn more or share your own exemplary partnership!

Title of Program:’  Lunch Time Book Club
Type of Program: Book Discussion Groups
Intended Grade Level of Participants: Grades 5-8
Description of Program: The Basalt Regional Library District has funding for programming, but they are short on space and have a difficult time getting interested teems to remember to attend programs.’  The local middle school has little funding and less staff, but plenty of space and students available.

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‘ If you haven’t heard yet, the Texas Board of Education has approved a social studies curriculum that demonstrates a clear bias toward politically conservative ideology. (Washington Post, NYT)’  In the words of one Board member: “I don’t care what the educational political lobby and their allies on the left say, evolution is hooey.” and, “The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan — he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes.” (Interview on AlterNet)

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I was only able to spend about five hours at my very first ALA conference, but at the very least, I got the flavor of it.’ ‘  Here, somewhat belatedly at this point, I will tell you how I spent my time there and some of my thoughts about going to the next one.

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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.

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The idea started last year in an eleventh grade classroom with a teacher joking that there should be a school version of the television show Dancing with the Stars. Some members of the class took the idea and ran with it. This fall, the seniors presented Dancing With the Staff.

The basics: teachers were put into dancing pairs. The first week they danced ballroom. Three of the ten couples were eliminated, and the seven remaining danced freestyle the following week. Three teachers served as judges, serving up snarky commentary much like the judges on the show. Charging $5 a head, the senior class earned $3900.

While it was a financially successful fundraiser, there were a number of other benefits as well.
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Those of us who have ever had the luxury of working as part of a team–particularly that rare, unicorn-like beast that is the school library team–know how easy it is to take good co-workers for granted. Not sure how to approach a reference question? Consult the team. Need someone to grab the other end of that table so you can rearrange furniture for a DDR tournament? Ask a co-worker. Forgot to pack a lunch and need to pop out for a bite? You can probably get desk coverage if you ask real nice.

But what do you do when suddenly you’re the only librarian in the building?

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“I tried to join a ping-pong club, sign on the door said all full up!’  I got nicked, fighting in the road an’ the judge didn’t even know…what’s my name…?!” – The Clash

Back in July, there was a rather sprited discussion on YAAC about the idea of reordering some of our most hallowed boxes of stickers.’  Much of the converstaion, it seemed, centered on the idea of service being provided to the 18 – 30-ish age bracket; whether or not we have a responsibility to help transition people to adult services, and how to collaborate in that area with the adult services department.’  I do agree there is a definite need for such collaboration, as little seems to be exist in libraries these days for this crowd.’ ‘ My esteemed colleague Alissa blogged about this very point just a few days past (most eloquently, I might add!).’  But the discussions began on a point of’ ‘ such seeming importance, one I feel like we get overly wrapped up in at times: what’s their label!?

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“No.” It is one of the first words we hear as human beings.’  And, in turn, as I have learned from my one year old and her friends, it is one of the first words we learn to say.

So how do we deal with this heavily loaded word when we hear it as a response to our library advocacy and the issues within it? How do we continue in our pursuit of our goals when this blow is dealt to us? Read More →

Like many of you, I’ve been thrilled to see the amazing amount of positive attention libraries of all types have been receiving in the media recently.’ ‘  Librarians across the country are using this media attention as a springboard for advocating and spreading the word about what an asset libraries and librarians are to their communities.’  And it seems so much easier to step into the role of advocate,’  particularly with legislators and decision-makers, when you’ve got a recent newspaper or TV report featuring lots of people proclaiming their love of libraries in your hands!’  But what about translating these statements of support and appreciation from the people we serve into action?’  What about recruiting individuals outside of the Library community to advocate with us and for us? Read More →

I’m glad I’m following Julie Scordato’s excellent post on creating a Teen Services Vision Statement, since the task of shaping Teen Services staffs’ job descriptions should be the next step after creating and sharing that Vision Statement.

Anyone looking to create a mission/vision statement or job description should take a look at Peter Drucker’s Managing the Non-Profit Organization, which looks very dry, but is actually stuffed with great anecdotes and common sense.’  In a discussion of how to manage staff, he writes (emphasis mine):

People require clear assignments.’  … They need to know what the institution expects of them.’  But the responsibility for developing the work plan, the job description and the assignment should always be on the people who do the work.

Everyone in the non-profit institution, whether chief executive or volunteer foot soldier, needs first to think through his or her own assignment.’  What should this institution hold me accountable for? The next responsibility is to make sure that the people with whom you work and on whom you depend understand what you intend to concentrate on, and what you should be held accountable for. Read More →