|A Unique Partnership|
By Anita Cellucci , Westborough High School Librarian
This year I began my first year as a high school librarian. Although I have been a school librarian for over ten years, changing positions at this point in my career presented an opportunity to create new partnerships and to expand on my long held belief that collaboration within the community creates strong school library programs.
Last April, when I accepted the new position, I knew it would be important to introduce myself to the public library staff before the school year began. As luck (or fate) would have it, Maureen Ambrosino accepted the Director’s position at the public library just before I was offered the high school librarian position in the same town. Maureen and I were already friends on Facebook and it was easy to set up a time to get together over the summer to discuss ways that we could work together.
This conversation was the beginning to our school year long collaboration. Although we have started a few other projects, the one success that I would like to highlight is the formation of a town wide libraries Teen Advisory Board. The board is open to students from grades 6-12. The middle school, high school and public libraries have been participating and the response from students has been overwhelming. The meetings rotate through the 3 school libraries and the public library. The hosting library plans the agenda and events for the day and input is solicited from the students.
Although we still have policies to put into place and more milestones to achieve, we have been able to increase the number of teen programs offered in the town, more teen materials have been added to the libraries, and the public library will have a first time ever summer reading program for teens. In addition to these accomplishments, all libraries have received input from the TAB members for collection development.
The support that we have received from administration and the Library Trustees and Friends has been inspiring! From the start, the Friends of the public library have helped by supplying snacks for meetings, but the overall support is summed up here by Patricia Fontes, chair of the Westborough Public Library Board of trustees, “I’m really excited about this collaboration! Westborough’s professional public and school librarians are working together to create quality library programming for Westborough’s pre-teens and teens. This collaboration will welcome our young people to the Public Library, encourage them to participate in activities and to create programs designed especially for them.”
We recently met with the Superintendent of schools, Marianne O’Connor, who states, “I am delighted to see the collaboration between the WPS and the Town Library. The Teen Advisory Board is a welcomed addition in bringing the youth of our community together in a proactive and productive manner. I was delighted to hear of the recent opportunities our students have been invited to participate in through the efforts of the Teen Advisory Board and look forward to learning more about future plans for our teens to have a voice in our school-local community.”
At the High School, teens have been brainstorming ways to make the space their own. We are currently working on creating a mural design for an area in the library that we hope to transform into a “Café” area. The HS teens are also communicating in a closed Blog designed to be a virtual space where the TAB members can brainstorm ideas or catch up on what happened at the last meeting.
Takeaway points: This collaboration has been about giving teens a voice within a safe space, it is a way of helping to make the space their own, and the collaboration is creating opportunities for teens to care about libraries, But the best part - Adults across the community are working together to make it happen!
|Last Updated ( Sunday, 24 April 2011 )|