Bridging the Divide

Bridging the Divide

Hillary Dodge (Clearview Library District, USA) and Erica Rose (Clearview Library District, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-387-4.ch012
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The purpose of this chapter is to provide an example of a productive working relationship between a public library and a public school district. For years the Clearview Library District (CLD) struggled with an estranged relationship with the Weld Re-4 School District. Various contributing factors made it difficult for staff to proactively connect with educators and school administration. In 2008, CLD made a commitment to reassessing its role in the community and began exploring ways to better serve more members of the community. CLD selected schools as a priority because they presented a tremendous opportunity to touch a large percentage of the population. This new relationship became a major focus for the Youth Services and Outreach Departments of the Clearview Library District, who worked together to develop a plan to bridge the divide.
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A survey of the current literature revealed a number of different approaches to the school/public library relationship. Many articles were repetitious in that they described similar ventures and practices. A few incorporated new thoughts or were particularly well written. Interestingly enough, there appeared to be an equal distribution of articles geared towards educators as well as librarians. Below, a few of the stronger articles are listed as examples.

By far, articles on best practices and collaborative programming were most prolific. Margaux DelGuidice’s article, “Are you Overlooking a Valuable Resource?,” is a good example of a piece aimed at educators. Her approach on best practices focuses on creating lines of reciprocal communication. Likewise, Sara Ryan, shares tried and true practices from the public library’s perspective in her article, “‘Be Nice to the Secretary.’” Ryan addresses cross-promotion, bringing schools to the library, and using outreach as a tool to reach schools outside library walls. Two articles of note that address successful program collaborations are “School and Public Librarians Working Together” by Julie Scordato and “Hand in Hand” compiled by Jana Fine. Scordato’s article, a column in Library Media Connection, describes a joint teaching venture involving the public librarian and online research classes. Fine’s article, geared towards public librarians, is a compiled list of mini-stories – each one describing a fruitful project or program.

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