Monday, June 08, 2015

School Library/Public Library Q&A at ALA

As a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Library Cooperation (SPLC), I've been thinking a lot about the partnerships we can foster between school and public librarians. There's been some great posts in the past year or so that have made me more deeply consider the ins and outs of community partnerships. Dana at Jbrary discussed the importance of being a community-led librarian, and Amy at Show Me Librarian shared her presentation on rethinking partnerships. Two points from these related posts are aspects of partnering that I have found particularly helpful: Dana's idea of "slowing your role" (ie, coming to the table with no immediate expectations for what your partnership would look like) and Amy's suggestion of asking questions.

In that spirit, it is my hope on behalf of SPLC to get the ball-rolling on an ALA Annual Networking Uncommons Q&A session in the style of Guerilla Storytime and YA Smackdown. As a committee we've talked about "What the School/Public Librarian Wishes the Other Would Know", but we'd love to see school and public librarians ask specific questions about the other's work and service. While this opportunity would take place live at Annual, you definitely don't have to be present to participate. Shoot, I'm working to plan this and I won't even be at the conference at all!

You game? Awesome! Here's how you can help the SPLC Committee pull this off:

1. Send me questions! I've formulated some questions through experiences and discussions I've had and conversations I've seen on list-servs, but I'd love to include some real-life questions. What do you want to know about school or public librarians? From simple questions like, "Realistically, when is the best time during the day/school year to email you?" to more reflective questions like, "what is one thing you've always wanted to try with the school/public library?" this is your time to ask the questions you've always wanted to know. While you can't generalize one library's response, of course, sending me questions can get you thinking about how to approach your possible partner, and maybe start a good discussion at Annual! Leave questions in the comments, or hit me up at brycedontplay at gmail dot com.

2. Offer to "host"! Hosting a Q&A session like this is easy-peasy. You don't have to talk al that much, so it'd be a great chance for a shy librarian to practice their presenting. I'll get you everything you need, and all you would have to do is book the Uncommons at a time you're available, and show up. Let me know in the comments, or email me at brycedontplay at gmail dot com!

There's a very good chance this will crash and burn; and if it does we can always try again next year. But in the meantime, let's try to make this work!

So let's get started:
What have you always wanted to know about school or public librarians but were afraid to ask? (or had no one to ask?)

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