While librarian-to-librarian collaborations between school and public libraries are nothing new, public libraries are now ramping up their efforts for deeper strategic engagement and collaboration at scale, embedding public library services within schools’ daily operations and combining catalogs and access services. Such deeper integration requires both sides to take into account a range of complex issues—commanding all-in support from library leadership and a strong working relationship with local educational administrators.
According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, an estimated 650,000 children in Uganda have been orphaned by AIDS. The majority of them are now cared for by their grandmothers. The adult literacy rate reported by UNESCO is 73.9 percent, and only 66.9 percent among women; these discrepancies are particularly acute in AIDS-affected populations. In an effort to address these issues, the Nyaka AIDS Orphan Project (NAOP), a nonprofit working on behalf of AIDS and HIV orphans in rural Uganda, has recently established two libraries for HIV- and AIDS-affected communities with support from the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF), a Canada-based nonprofit.
Since the revelation that water in Flint, MI, is contaminated with toxic levels of lead, public and private institutions, individuals, and civic organizations have been stepping up to help across the country. In addition to the infrastructure changes that now need to be made to the city’s water system, much of the immediate relief effort centers around information: on health hazards, residents’ legal rights, and what the city needs to do going forward. The Flint Public Library (FPL) has positioned itself as a source of reliable information, and the remaining libraries in Flint’s public high schools have been instrumental in helping local teenagers better understand what their city is going through.
Libraries may be going digital, but librarians still bring—and need—that personal touch. On October 14, Library Journal and School Library Journal’s virtual conference, The Digital Shift, Libraries Connecting Communities, aptly demonstrated this in a wide range of offerings throughout the day-long event.
On October 14, Library Journal and School Library Journal will host their sixth annual virtual conference, “The Digital Shift: Libraries Connecting Communities.” Follett School Solutions is a gold sponsor of the conference, and LJ reached out to Nader Qaimari, Senior Vice President of Content Solutions and Services, Follett, to participate in this series of interviews addressing libraries’ evolving role in using the latest technology to connect patrons to the information, tools, services, that they need—and to one another.
A recent Harris poll on attitudes about book banning and school libraries revealed that out of the 2,244 U.S. adults surveyed in March 2015, the percentage who felt that certain books should be banned increased by more than half since the last similar study conducted in 2011. In addition, more believe that some books deserve to be banned than movies, television shows, or video games.
While the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) is largely concerned with policy on the legislative level, an OITP-sponsored program at ALA’s 2015 annual conference, Hacking the Culture of Learning in the Library, focused on what libraries themselves need to know to function as outside-the-school-walls learning zones. Moderator Christopher Harris, school library system director at Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and ALA OITP Fellow for Program on Youth and Technology Policy, began the interactive session by noting that public, school, and academic libraries have a great opportunity to frame a common theme to work around—Libraries Are Education—and set about exploring some of the issues at stake.
Today’s learners have more options than ever on their paths to education, but they will also encounter more obstacles. We may live in an age of access to information, but it’s becoming increasingly easy for students to miss out on crucial information during their middle and high school years—a high school diploma is no guarantee that they will be prepared for the requirements of college—and after graduation, especially for those who do not go on to higher education. Working as partners, however, different types of libraries can join forces to help students bridge the gap from high school to higher ed to the workforce while remaining a viable part of their lives.
The Common Core is set to change the way that K-12 education is administered across the United States. Or at least it was, until a backlash from educators and politicians put the new set of education standards on hold in some states and rolled them back entirely in others. Now higher education officials, who had previously been largely absent from the debate, are speaking up in favor of the standards and working to remind educators and parents why these stricter standards were agreed to by 45 states in the first place.