“Active partnerships are the key to an effective school library.” (School Libraries Make a Difference)
Partnerships are so important because, among other things, they enable us to do more to improve service delivery than we could do alone. With partners in other library sectors and outside the library community we can share interesting and novel ideas, provide pointers to good practice, develop innovative services and demonstrate the value and impact of our libraries to our Bursars and Senior Management Teams.
School librarians generally work in partnership with:
- All departments within the school
- The wider school community e.g. parents, governors
- Feeder schools – senior/junior
- Colleagues in other schools
- Agencies promoting libraries e.g. SLA, CILIP
- Schools Library Service
- Public Libraries
- Booksellers & publishers
- Organisations promoting reading e.g. Booktrust, Reading Agency
As funding is cut at many schools and public libraries, partnerships become even more important as a means of sharing ideas and resources. For example:
- The Summer Reading Challenge : this highly succesful national reading initiative run by the public library service and co-ordinated by the Reading Agency is aimed at children aged 4-11 years. It runs during the long summer holidays and inspires children to read at a time when their reading skills can decline without the regular reading activities they receive when they are at school. The challenge is simple – to read six or more library books over the summer and there are incentives, activities and events all designed to make reading fun. Every year there is a different theme. School libraries can help promote the Summer Reading Challenge by linking with their local public library. They may have promotional material you can display in school, invitations you can hand out to children and their families, or information to include in school-home newsletters. You can also download resources from the website before the start of the Challenge. Once they have logged on, the Summer Reading Challenge website is available to children all year round to help them keep track of their reading, find new books to read, take part in competitions and play games.
- The Christmas Mini Challenge: started in 2013 and runs along similar lines to its big brother The Summer Reading Challenge except that it all takes place online and the children are only asked to read three books over the Christmas holiday period.
- Encourage your pupils to become public library members. After all, its totally free and there are great advantages to be had. For example public libraries stock a wide range of digital material, not only e-books and audio books, but magazines, newspapers and more recently graphic novels. Plus they can give pupils access to a selection of very useful online information/ reference homework resources such as the Encyclopedia Britannica and World Book, which pupils can access from home. Annual subscriptions for the latter by the way are often way more than the average stand-alone Prep School library can afford! What a great way to show support for our public libraries in this time of cut -backs and closures!
Building up a good relationship with your local independent book seller is invaluable! Whilst there is no doubt Amazon can offer great discounts you cannot beat the personal service offered by your local book shop. The staff have a wealth of literary knowledge and experience and in the long run will save you so much time and effort as they can make valuable recommendations, provide book lists on demand, source almost any book you need, run a book fair for you, find you an author for an event and also provide the books for the signing session afterwards on a sale or return basis – and so much more! In the holidays some even run book events and book clubs. Independent book stores do not have to answer to the dictates of the public market as chain stores like Waterstones do. The latter, like all retailing outlets, have to ‘move product’ so classics and the older hidden gems are not always given much shelf space in their shops! Whilst the independents offer something Amazon and the chains can’t, they need our help to survive against the stiff competition. This is where the HIVE scheme comes in. The HIVE website (www.hive.co.uk) is a great place to search for, browse and buy books, eBooks, DVDs, CDs & vinyl and it gives the opportunity for thousands of independent book shops across the country to be seen on line. You can even choose to collect your order from your local book shop or have it delivered direct to your home. Buying your books from HIVE will mean that you’re also supporting your independent high street shops because when you submit your order you can choose a bookshop and HIVE will give them a percentage of your money. A great way to support your local independent book shops to ensure they don’t disappear!
(Last updated by Denise Reed on 12 April, 2016)