Thursday, June 29, 2017

Partnerships: Public Library + Schools

In this article, we’ll hear from Alissa Adams, SDSL School Library Technology Coordinator.

At this year’s Library Institute in Brookings, SD, I had the opportunity to talk with public librarians about collaboration between the public library and the school library in terms of teen and tween services. This was the first time I’ve been in this type of environment since my employment with the State Library and I’m pretty sure I learned as much if not more than the attendees. Gaining the public library’s perspective was enlightening and I found so many connections to the school library.

Our time together began with learning about the teenage brain and how technology affects it. We also talked about generational gaps and the difference between a digital native and a digital immigrant. We then dove into 21st century education and how, thanks in large part to technology, the shift is now moving towards personalized learning. Then, using Padlet, an online communication and collaboration tool, we spent time brainstorming ways to partner with schools to promote teen services. That Padlet is publically available at: We finished up with exploring a few teen related databases offered free to all SD students and citizens.

Lastly, I’d like to share a couple of practical takeaways for public librarians as they seek to partner with schools:

  1. Be proactive. Sometimes all it takes is a reminder email or phone call to teachers – i.e. YARP awards or summer reading programming. Sometimes it takes a willingness to volunteer – maybe at the book fair? Sometimes it’s offering a learning night – i.e. free ACT prep free SDSL database Learning Express Library.
  2. Be in the know. Many schools have weekly or monthly newsletters, get on the list for that distribution. Check school website regularly or, better yet, follow the school on social media. To be in the loop in terms of school library happenings in our state, subscribe to the School Library listeserv at:

For questions about school libraries, contact me or by phone at 605-295-3152.