The Education Field

Librarianship is intricately intertwined with education. The Library of the People was created after all to create an educated citizenry, which is at the basis of democracy. Regarding schools and libraries as community partners has been a step that has been taken by many library systems, and it is a concept that has been supported by research.

Benefits for Students

In my experience as an educator, I was keenly aware that children enjoy reading when there is something to read. Once that has been established, they then yearn for choices, and there are many occasions when classroom libraries, and even school libraries, cannot satisfy this demand. When there is limited choice, students do not enjoy the task of finding something new, and when they do not enjoy this, they step away from the bookcases. Of course, the consequence of this is less reading, and less learning. Carmen Monsegur, Manager of the Academy of the Americas’ Library, within the Detroit Public Schools system says that a partnership with the public library would “open doors” for the students in terms of exploration of reading material and choice. She mentions that it would be a great idea, but the practicality of the endeavor is not something she can envision currently. Following are two examples of public library and public school systems that have accomplished this goal.

MyLibraryNYC is a program that was established in 2012. With a healthy contribution from Citi Group, it has made a partnership between public libraries and public schools possible. The systems involved are the New York City Public Library (which provides services to Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx), Queens Library, and the Brooklyn Public Library, in cooperation with the New York City Department of Education. According to the MyLibraryNYC website, the benefits of participating in the program are that the books and other materials are delivered directly to the schools. Teachers can place holds on more materials and can keep them checked out for a longer period of time (, accessed October 30, 2013). Additionally, there is a way to get book sets to teachers, who generally must purchase these with their own money. A press release found on the MyLibraryNYC website presents the findings that:

Surveys conducted after the pilot showed that nearly 90 percent of participating

teachers said the program better equipped them to teach, and that students in

the pilot were three times more likely to check out a book from their public

library than those in non-participating schools

(, accessed October 30, 2013).

As a teacher, there were often times when I decidedly shied away from using book sets because I did not have them in my possession, and because there were no sets in the school library. Fortunately, many teachers who do have sets lend them to teachers who do not. A program like MyLibraryNYC would be a terrific asset to every school system.

There have been many places around the country where this model of partnerships has indeed been taken on. The article “Partners in Success: When school and public librarians join forces, kids win” by Marta Murvosh, illustrates these many examples. She has included the MyLibraryNYC program as well as partnerships in other big cities. Murvosh finds that because limited budgets are a big concern for public libraries and public schools, joining forces benefits both parties (2013). In terms of increasing student reading choice at the same time as being budget-conscious, “few school libraries could match the buying power of a large branch or a mid-size public library system” (Murvosh, 2013). In big cities, the collections are so massive, that the students really benefit from having them at their disposal, and so easily accessible.

Benefits for Libraries

A partnership entails benefits for both parties. As previously discussed, both parties benefit from forming partnerships because of budgeting concerns. The article titled “School and Public Library Relationships: Essential Ingredients in Implementing Educational Reforms and Improving Student Learning” by Shirley A. Fitzgibbons, explains a lot of the reforms that have altered funding for libraries, and how these can be an incentive for partnerships to flourish (August 2000). As Murvosh found to be true for the Nashville Public Library, the “circulation stats have soared by an unprecedented 60 percent” (2013). This increase in circulation was also found to have happened for the New York Public Library through the use of the MyLibraryNYC program. Finally, another benefit Murvosh (2013) mentions in her article is that many of the professionals felt that the partnerships created an opportunity for professional development. Librarians and educators came together and they also were able to learn from each other about best practices and supported the reasoning behind these partnerships.


Author interview with Carmen Monsegur.

Fitzgibbons, S.A. (August 2000). School and Public Library Relationships: Essential Ingredients in      Implementing Educational Reforms and Improving Student Learning. Retrieved from (Accessed October 30, 2013)

Murvosh, M. (January 1, 2013). Partners in Success: When school and public librarians join forces, kids win. Retrieved from (Accessed October 30, 2013)

MyLibraryNYC. (2012). About. Retrieved from (Accessed October 30, 2013)

MyLibraryNYC. Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Walcott, Public Libraries and Citi Announce Expansion of MyLibraryNYC Initiative to Connect Schools Citywide to Millions of Books and Other Learning Material. Retrieved from (Accessed October 30, 2013)


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We interrupt the regularly scheduled post to bring you news of a totally awesome Library Partnership:


The Carnegie Library of Pittsburg, The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, The City of Pittsburg and Highmark bring teens Alternate Homecoming. This mega event includes face painting, a DJ, green screen photo booth,  a flashlight tour of the Natural History Museum and more for the low price of $5. It’s tomorrow night, Nov. 2, so you might want to hurry and get tickets if you’re in the Pittsburg area. In case you aren’t sold on how awesome this is, the theme is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and the proceeds from the event are going to a local children’s cancer charity.

Now back to the regularly scheduled blog posting.

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Partnership Introductions

We come together as a group, and as newcomers to the profession to explore partnerships libraries create with their communities. As discussed in our Introduction to the Information Profession course and through reading, we have learned that a library is more than a place to check out books.   It is also a place for the surrounding community to come together, find resources, as well as to learn and to benefit one’s quality of life. The library serves its community, and the question is, what does the community need?

As the United States deals with economic difficulties, more and more people are in need of low cost resources such as computers, a place to apply for jobs, to fill out tax forms, find help with new technology, etc. How can a library provide all of these resources for free or with minimal cost to patrons? Libraries receive funding through taxes, but often there is not enough. This is where community partners come in, and one of the reasons why libraries are often seen working with other community groups. Another reason community partnerships are important to the library is because      libraries thrive on community engagement and because of this, there is more credibility to the institution when there is some degree of community partnering. This shows that the library is committed to serve and going to great lengths to provide additional services besides book lending. When the library allows patrons to suggest partnerships that will benefit the whole, this shows that the library is a communal place, and that the patrons do have the right to ask for services that may not be traditional. The reason for libraries to need a partner is easily seen, but why would a community organization or business want to help out a library? For that answer, we turn to what Karen Ellis writes in her case study, Partnerships and Collaborations in Public Library Communities: Resources and Solutions. She states, “New and different educational opportunities are…more appealing when offered in the neutral environment of the library….Family friendly library programming and materials are often a draw for potential residences and businesses alike. This is all about quality of life, meeting specific needs for citizens and industry.” (Ellis, 2011)  Community partnerships allow libraries to create a central network around itself. Libraries have already been hubs of information, but now they have grown to become a place to get all manner of questions answered and necessary tasks accomplished.

As an assignment for our Introduction to the Information Profession course, Team 3 has the task of creating a team blog. Just as we collaborate to complete this assignment; so too do libraries collaborate and provide services to their communities. Our Blog will give examples of community partnerships from the perspective of:

  • Art
  • Government
  • Community Groups
  • Entertainment
  • Music
  • Education

In doing so, we recognize that a library not only serves its own community, but has the capacity to provide services to many communities beyond physical borders.

Partnerships come in all different forms. A library can partner with an individual, a corporation or anything in between. There can be one partner to work with the library for an event or many can be brought together all at once. Some simple guidelines for looking into Community Partnerships as well as setting them up are:

1. Do Some Research.

Keep your eyes and ears open. There was the case where a school hosted a Food Truck event, and a percentage of the profits went to the school. This would work wonderfully for a public library whose city holds large events occasionally, or for a library that is big enough to draw crowds of its own. Food Trucks are popular right now. Libraries can jump on the bandwagon and ride some trends.

2. Use Your Peers.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. See what is working at other libraries, tweak it for your own use and run with it. Librarians are sharers, a simple query on a listserve can garner some gems.

3. Attend Meetings.

The theme for The Library Network’s Fall Workshop was: Community Partnerships. Much information was gathered. Look for a later post on the subject. You never know what you might learn.

4. Get With The (Internet) Program!

You might be old school, but there is a wealth of information out there. Social Media is exploding. There are library Pinterest Boards with tons of ideas just waiting to be explored. You don’t have to do it all either, have each staff member take part. One can be the Pinterst guru, another can devote themselves to Tumblr, or Twitter.

There are many different, interesting partnerships out there and we hope to inspire you to go out and make some of your own for your library.


Ellis, Karen. (2011). Partnerships and Collaborations in Public Library Communities: Resources and Solutions. Hershey: IGI Global

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