School and Public Libraries Work! (Together would be best) Part 1


I know that both school and public libraries have many similarities and differences. Maybe it is time we get past the differences and try and work together effectively. I know there are some marvelous examples of these groups working together well. My experience suggests that great school and public library partnerships are rare. Too often I find the groups working with little or no contact with each other. Working alone is no longer a reasonable or rational way to act. I don’t think either group can claim that they run a great library program if they don’t operate as partners.

Our kids deserve better. Great school and public libraries need to support each other.

Schools and school libraries are more effective when the public library:

  • effectively supports early literacy and the parents who promote and encourage reading to preschoolers.
  • communicates regularly with and supports the materials and information needs of the teachers in local schools.
  • is aware of and supports the materials and information needs of student researchers.
  • offers Summer Reading programs that keeps the student mentally engaged in reading and learning.
  • is a direct working partner in support of the school library program.
  • acts as a partner to secure community resources and local programming for schools – in support of student learning.
  • has direct links on the website to the school library.
  • website supports the 24/7 education and information needs of students and adults.

The public library is more effective when schools and school libraries:

  • support and direct the students to have public library cards and to be active users of the public library.
  • teachers and school librarians collaborate on lesson planning that includes the public library facility and resources.
  • teachers and school librarians consistently communicate to public librarians the learning goals and objectives, along with the information needs of the students at all grade levels. (Share your project mapping calendar.)
  • has direct links on the school library website to the public library.
  • website supports the 24/7 education and information needs of students and parents.

 Both schools and public libraries benefit when both groups:

  • acknowledge and respect each other’s time and staffing limitations. Both groups are short on staff.
  • understand the need for advance planning and early communication of the needs and the support that is available.
  • develop administration support by both groups: school administrations and public library boards and directors.
  • consistently meet together to share ideas, resources and to plan joint strategies for collaboration.
  • create a partnership that supports and improves the development of a culture of life-long learning for all the members of their community.

Here is the ALA : Association for Library Services to Children listing of partnership projects for school and public libraries. I am sure you can find some projects or ideas to consider in your community to begin or improve the partnership you have with your school and public library. 

I will talk more about this in post #2 of Schools and Public Libraries Work!

Please tell me about any school and public library partnership programs that you run. Give us the good and the bad so we can all learn together.



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One Response to “School and Public Libraries Work! (Together would be best) Part 1”

  1. Beth Says:

    There is a great collaboration between the Baldwin Whitehall School District and the Baldwin Public Library and the Whitehall Public Library. For the annual One Book program they bring together senior citizens and high school students to read and discuss the book from their unique perspectives. It is a learning experience for both groups and creates an atmosphere of acceptance between the school library and the two public libraries. This is a model program of collaboration.

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