Friday, January 21, 2011

Joining Forces

Late yesterday evening I went to a new group meeting. Bill Sannwald, Youth Service Librarian @ Malcolm X Library wanted to connect with the area school libraries to network. A small group of us met at his branch library for about an hour. So what did we talk about?

We talked about services we were offering at our sites and at the branch libraries. At Malcolm X, they have movies, game nights, storytelling, a quilt show and teen artwork coming soon to a wall near you. At Lincoln High, kids are reading. Margo said she has 3 copies of the Hunger Games series and none of the copies have been on the shelf since she got them. They continue to be on hold. Erin talked about how she was doing the California Young Reader Medal Program at her schools. Thanks to the collections at the IMC Libraries, she said she has enough books to do it. At Bell Middle School, Erin has created a student book review blog- Bell Literacy Council. Check it out and be a follower.

In times like these, we have to work together. Networking to share ideas does more than let us toot our own horn. It lets us share our resources. If you are a school library staff person and you don’t have a book that a student wants or needs, when is the last time you told him to check with the public library? Better yet, you showed him how to order the book online? Add it to your own wish list and provide customer service that will help him for a lifetime.

When you are looking at reducing your databases, talk with your public library and buy what they aren’t buying. If you are a public library staff person, when is the last time you visited a school? Bill is going to Nye Elementary to do Story Time. How great is that? Of course, Aunt Betty is going to Malcolm X to do her thing too.

By working together, we find that we are bound together to help us see that we are not alone. Library budgets are tough all over. School libraries are building a foundation that transfers over into life at the public library. As both grow into what our customers need, we need to reach out to each other so that we transform into more than just a building with books. We become that safe haven. That place where all are welcome- whether they came there to read or not. Besides, we all like a good movie. Don’t we?

Oh yes, and bring cookies.

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