Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Joining Forces

Cre­at­ing a Library Exchange Net­work

Last year, I had the dis­tinct hon­or to attend a pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ty at MIT (Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy). As part of the train­ing, we were giv­en a chance to see some of the projects stu­dents and pro­fes­sors are work­ing on in fields such as edu­ca­tion, fash­ion, and health­care. I was sur­prised to learn from Dr. Chris Bourg, Direc­tor for MIT Libraries, about the Pub­lic Library Inno­va­tion Exchange (PLIX) where MIT researchers work with pub­lic librar­i­ans to exchange ideas to devel­op new cre­at­ed learn­ing pro­grams. Scratch Cod­ing and the Duct Tape Net­work are exam­ples of their pre­vi­ous projects. After return­ing home, I cre­at­ed a Library Exchange Net­work with both com­mu­ni­ty and state part­ners to devel­op new learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for library patrons and the com­mu­ni­ty by reach­ing out to indi­vid­u­als in a vari­ety of dis­ci­plines such as the arts and engi­neer­ing.

From small to large libraries, any size library can cre­ate a Library Exchange Net­work with THREE easy steps:

Step 1: Part­ner­ship Radar

A part­ner­ship radar pro­vides you the oppor­tu­ni­ty to map out poten­tial part­ners for your exchange. Cre­ate a list of poten­tial part­ners who could poten­tial­ly offer a library pro­gram (this is some­thing you might already have com­plet­ed). Some exam­ples might include a con­struc­tion com­pa­ny who could help chil­dren cre­ate bird­hous­es, a uni­ver­si­ty or col­lege who could pro­vide a STEM pro­gram, or a gar­den­ing group who could pro­vide chil­dren the oppor­tu­ni­ty to plant a bulb. Your map can include local and or non-local part­ners. Your part­ner­ship radar will con­tin­ue to grow.

Storytime with WrigleyStep 2: Throw­ing the Line Out

As with fish­ing, you need to throw a line out to poten­tial part­ners by email or phone, express­ing the library’s inter­est in devel­op­ing a library pro­gram relat­ing to their pro­fes­sion or skill. For exam­ple, I reached out to a local teacher who has a ther­a­py dog to estab­lish a new Sat­ur­day sto­ry­time pro­gram where fam­i­lies enjoy not only sto­ries, songs, and a craft but also enjoy time with her ther­a­py dog. Con­clude your email by wel­com­ing them to your library for a brain­storm­ing ses­sion.

Step 3: Idea Exchange

The idea exchange is an oppor­tu­ni­ty for you and the poten­tial part­ner to brain­storm ideas on poten­tial pro­gram oppor­tu­ni­ties for the com­mu­ni­ty. For exam­ple, I had our local train muse­um vis­it with me to brain­storm new pos­si­bil­i­ties for fam­i­lies to learn about the his­to­ry of trains through expe­ri­ences includ­ing an inter­ac­tive kiosk and a live pre­sen­ta­tion. The goal at the ini­tial exchange meet­ing is to throw out as many pro­gram ideas as pos­si­ble even if they seem impos­si­ble. The meet­ings that fol­low will be reserved for the design of the pro­gram. 

10 Ben­e­fits of a Library Exchange Net­work

  1. Pro­vides new learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for the com­mu­ni­ty.
  2. Increas­es the library’s vis­i­bil­i­ty.
  3. Lim­its staff time to devel­op new pro­grams.
  4. Requires lit­tle or no cost. Many employ­ers require employ­ees to com­plete com­mu­ni­ty ser­vices.
  5. Shares both tal­ents and resources.
  6. Fos­ters coöper­a­tion.
  7. Reach­es new audi­ences.
  8. Re-images the pur­pose of the pub­lic library.
  9. Expands both ser­vices and pro­grams.
  10. Ensures the library con­tin­ues to be an enjoy­able place with­in the com­mu­ni­ty.

Nation­al Part­ners:

Code NinjasOur local part­ner­ship is exten­sive; how­ev­er, here are some of our non-local part­ner­ships who have chains through­out the Unit­ed States.

  1. Cod­ing Nin­jas
  2. Syl­van Learn­ing
  3. Bricks 4 Kids
  4. Boy and Girls Club
  5. After­school Alliance
  6. Engi­neer­ing for Kids

Arti­cles to Enjoy on Library Part­ner­ships:

The Who, What, Where, Why, When, and Hows of Pas­sive Pro­gram­ming,” by Aman­da Ben­nett, OLC Small Libraries, 17 March 2014

How Pub­lic Libraries Help Build Healthy Com­mu­ni­ties,” by Marcela Cam­bel­lo and Stu­art M. But­ler, Brook­ings Insti­tu­tion, 30 March 2017  

Books to Gen­er­ate Pro­gram Ideas

books for programming

Some Pro­gram Exam­ples Pro­vid­ed by Our Part­ners

Two Programs

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.