School libraries have long been a staple of the educational system, providing learners and faculty members access to a wide range of books and resources. They are also a hub of community outreach, serving as a shared gathering space for people of all ages and backgrounds.
School libraries are a vital part of our education system, and they should be used to their fullest potential. One way to do this is through community outreach. Many libraries have already begun to embrace community outreach, but there are still more opportunities to explore. School libraries are uniquely positioned to reach the community. They provide access to materials, resources, and services that help people of all ages and backgrounds. Not only do they provide learners and faculty access to the latest books and resources, but they also offer a safe place for people to come together and explore their interests and passions. This has been especially beneficial for learners who may not have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities outside of school.
There are several ways to have community outreach in your school library. These are two that have been tried and true for me and other amazing school librarians. Both of these make a major impact on both learners and the school library.
- Technology: School libraries play a vital role in providing technology access. Many libraries are now equipped with computers and other technology, allowing learners to stay up to date with the latest advancements. Learners can often check out these devices, hotspots, and even printers, to use at home to assist with school work. They can also help their families in various ways. This can be particularly beneficial for those who lack access to technology at home and bridge the digital divide.
- School Events/ Programs: A way to outreach through the school library is through school events/ programs. Actively engaging with the community, organizing events and programs to introduce learners to various topics and foster a sense of togetherness. These activities would include guest speakers to discuss with learners how they reached where they are today. This could be through college, or not applying to college, and any hardships they faced and how to overcome them. Other activities could involve hosting workshops for parents and community members and collaborating with school counselors on campus to prepare parents for supporting their child or even workshops that help parents transition back to school, etc. The opportunities are endless honestly. There are also passive programs that can be used to give back to the community through prom dress donations for those who cannot afford them and having hygiene products in the library for anyone who needs them. By always having resources available to learners, they will grow that sense of belonging and togetherness.
School libraries are a vital part of the educational system and a cornerstone of the community. They provide learners with access to the latest books and resources. They host events and programs to foster a sense of community and offer access to technology. In this way, school libraries help bridge the gap between learners and the community and create a more connected world. They can help create a sense of belonging and connection in the community. By reaching out and engaging in community outreach, school libraries can contribute to create a sense of belonging in the community. In addition, they can foster a sense of connection and trust between the school and the community.
Author: Jessica Fitzpatrick
Jessica Fitzpatrick is a high school librarian in Houston and is in her tenth year of education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Houston and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas. She is a 2022 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, 2022 TLA MVP, an AASL Inspire Special Event Grant recipient, 2022 YALSA’s MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, the 2022 TLA Branding Award Winner for Reading Program, the 2020 TLA Branding Award Winner for Community Engagement, YALS article contributor, and on the TAYSHAS Reading Committee. She enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her two daughters and husband. You can follow her on Instagram at @librarian_fitz and on Twitter at @librarianfitz .
Categories: Community/Teacher Collaboration