Saturday, February 16, 2013

Opportunity Knocks

Are You Available?
If you are ready and willing to collaborate, are you sure that it shows?  Perhaps you have reached out to potential partners, but what if someone is trying to reach out to you?  How easy is it for an outsider to find your name, position, and contact information on your library website?  If the answer is “not very easy” then it is time to re-evaluate your visibility in the community. 

I have had many conversations in the past few months about public libraries and collaboration--conversations with teachers, school librarians, public librarians, early literacy folks, community non-profits, etc.  I have heard again and again how it can be difficult to identify the youth services staff member at a given library.  If you want people to get in touch with you, make it easy.  While I understand concerns for privacy and safety, your role as a public librarian is, well, public.  Make a generic email address e.g. “youthservices@mylibrary” or simply include your first name or preferred title e.g. “Miss Rachel” if you need to, but make your contact information available on your library website.  TODAY.  If you’ve got this covered already, good for you!

Let’s Collaborate!
You may be interested in collaborating, but are you aware that your patrons want you to collaborate too?   According to a recent Pew Internet finding, 85% of Americans ages 16 and older say libraries should “definitely” coordinate more closely with local schoolsIf you haven’t picked up the phone or sent an email to your local school librarian or teacher, the time is now. 

Want to know how to get started?  Check out the School and Public Library Collaboration  webinar archive from Wednesday, February 13, 2013.  Not only is it chock-full of practical ideas, but it is also ripe with valentine-y relationship metaphors.   For a permanent link to the archive, or to find additional webinars, look under Professional Development  on the Youth Services page.  For Common Core webinar resources, visit  Public Schools Initiatives Affecting Public Libraries.

Bragging Rights
If you are flying high on the success of your collaborative efforts with public schools, please let me know.  I’m looking for anecdotes, photos, stories, tips, and more.  Send them my way at or find me on my library's website 

Tessa Michaelson Schmidt
Youth and Special Services Consultant
Wisconsin DPI, Public Library Development
125 South Webster Street, PO Box 7841
Madison, WI 53707-7841
P: (608) 267-5077
F: (608) 267-9207 

Image: 'march07 374' Found on

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