In the past few years, it seems that every academic cycle brings more news of universities using therapy dogs to ease the stress of students during finals week. One of the first instances to hit mainstream media was the report in the March 21, 2011, New York Times that the much revered Yale Law School was now circulating a certified pet therapy dog named Monty through their library. It was clear that America’s growing inclusion of pets into everyday lives was making its way into our libraries.
Partnerships and Collaboration
The future of bookselling often seems cloudy in this rapidly changing digital world, but the future of reading is clear. As publishers struggle to determine the best way to produce and market books in this new digital era, non-profit organizations whose mission is to encourage reading must continue to find ways to connect writers and readers. As resources shrink, creativity and partnerships become even more vital.
Partnerships are critical to what we do every day. Their value cannot be underestimated. By working together it allows us to go beyond simply doing “more with less,” to doing “more with more.” Public libraries are in a unique position to act as a catalyst for innovative community development initiatives. Proactively reaching out to our community stakeholders enables us to improve services and leverage limited resources to build better communities.
Gone are the days when the library stood in splendid isolation. Libraries partner with all kinds of organizations to deliver programs and produce audiences. Partnerships can have pitfalls, often because one side or the other expects something that doesn’t get delivered. But more libraries than ever are reporting that successful collaborations are central to their planning and no longer an afterthought.
Visitors to five zoos around the country are experiencing the benefits of a unique partnership.
Perhaps it’s a symptom of the economy and diminishing resources, but there is more talk than ever about partnerships and collaboration in all types of organizations, including libraries and other nonprofits. We are being urged to “maximize resources,” “leverage assets,” and “avoid duplication” in the work we do. At the American Library Association’s Annual Conference this year, every program I attended (as well as the one I presented!) mentioned partnerships and collaboration.
A book discussion group participating in the Kansas Humanities Council's TALK program
As a middle school librarian, I am responsible for many tasks: managing a small library, teaching information skills, promoting reading, and collaborating on instruction with classroom teachers. One duty that does not seem required, though, is providing stimulating programming for students. Sure, my school appreciates when I moderate book clubs or host an author visit, but if I did not offer these events, I’m not sure anyone would complain. In speaking with my peers, I found there is often little programming expectations for school librarians.