Public and School Libraries: Are you being served?

Collaboration between public libraries and school libraries is becoming an important area in countries where there are already strong and well equipped services as seperate entities. On the other hand, countries that are still evolving school libraries, or who do not have school libraries, are also exploring how to facilitate information and learning services through collaborative ventures.

Through my work in the International Association of School Librarianship, most recently as Vice President (Association Relations), I was on the award committe in 2005 for the Annual IASL/Soflink Award sponsored through the generosity of Softlink International which recognises significant contributions to school librarianship by school library specialists, educators, and/or researchers.

The award in 2005 was given to Australia’s Mackay West State School and Mackay City Council Library Service who developed an enduring strategic alliance between the school and public library service which has resulted in the development of a program: Productive Partnerships — Lifelong Learning. The program’s four elements involve a work shadowing scheme which forges closer links between the school and public library staff, a library monitor program recognising student library leadership in the school, a program of visits “Grade One students At the Library” (GOAL) and a website that, among other things, improves communication between the school and the public library in supporting students’ curriculum activities. I can vouch for the tremendous success of the program.

Jump to 2007: If you are exploring possibilities, you should visit the excellent presentation available at Slideshare on Public and School Library Partnership: How the Twain Shall Meet.