As we were gathering articles for the 2013 March/April issue of Knowledge Quest one of the areas Ann Martin and I chose that we would like to highlight was the partnership between school and public libraries. And while I am sure there are great examples out there, I was amazed that this still seems to be an area where we as school librarians can grow.
In looking back through School Library Research there is really only one piece of research dealing with this partnership. In 2000 Fitzgibbons explored successful cooperative partnerships between school and public libraries, what these partnerships looked like and what factors have to be considered in forming these successful relationships.
This also came to mind as I reflected on the semester as it comes to a close. This semester in both of my courses, that are focused on school library topics, I had students who are not on the school library certification track enroll in each of these courses. I went from wondering why they were taking those courses to enjoying the different views and perspectives they brought to our class discussions. They in return expressed that they had learned more about what school librarians actually do and of course most of them were surprised at the many roles of the school librarian.
This experience made me wonder if we are perhaps not doing all that we could in preparing school librarians to encourage this partnership, and if maybe we are even hindering it’s development. I say this because all too often school librarians have take different classes from other MLIS students that are more specialized and needed for certification and even when they are in general MLIS classes you will often see groups for group work created by type of library focus. After this semester and seeing the great projects and ideas that came from the school library students working with the public and academic library students I will be encouraging these in the future. I think this type of learning experience can go further in promoting these relationships than hearing me say over and over again “you really should be partnering with your local public librarian.”
Fitzgibbons, S. A. (2000). School and public library relationships: Essential ingredients in implementing educational reforms and improving student learning. School Library Media Research, 3. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/slmrb/slmrcontents/volume32000/relationships
Image: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=19960&picture=hands-holding-jigsaw”>Hands Holding Jigsaw</a> by Petr Kratochvil