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Libraries and Nonprofits: Making the Case

nlenstra's picture
Group wearing shirts that say "Volunteer"

Nonprofits are everywhere. Wherever you are located, it's likely that there are numerous nonprofit organizations at work in your community that you've never even heard of. In 2009, the Hayward (Calif.) Public Library merged with another city department and took on the city's community grants program. They found that in this city of 150,000 there are over 2,000 nonprofit organizations

The Path to Healthy Aging: Partnering with Aging Councils and Agencies

nlenstra's picture
Older adults touching palms

Together, Area Agencies on Aging and Councils on Aging constitute the public infrastructure designed to support America’s older adults. As such, they are natural partners for public libraries seeking to develop programs that lead communities “on the path to healthy aging,” as the ALA Health Literacy Toolkit puts it.

Health Programs through Partnerships: A Case Study

nlenstra's picture
Woman rolling up yoga mat

New research by a San Jose State University scholar finds that most health programs offered by a major U.S. public library system are developed through community partnerships. San Jose Public Library not only works with partners to develop programs offered at the library, they also participate in regional health campaigns. Keep reading to learn how they do it, and to get inspired to try something new at your library! 

Roll-n-Read

Children listening to storytime

Our library has partnered with our local Wood River Parks and Recreation Department to offer a weekly children's program for kids (ages 5 and younger) that combines gymnastics and motor skills with literacy.

The library provides staff and a story for storytime; the parks department provices the gymnastics equipment and space for the little ones to play. 

Middle School Panel

School bus

The Fifth Annual Middle School Panel  was a great opportunity for parents/guardians to hear about the local middle schools and their programs. This program was geared for parents/guardians of fourth- and fifth-graders. 

The event was hosted by the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library in partnership with 17 area schools and organizations. Program representatives from the area schools addressed parents, legal guardians and students about their respective middle schools in terms of academic programs, resources and performance.

Tiny Library, Big Carnival

cprice's picture
Sign for the Meservey Carnival

When I started as library director in the tiny town of Meservey, I never thought we would be able to pull off large-scale programs like libraries in big cities did. Those types of programs aren’t in our budget, and it’s hard enough getting good attendance at our smaller events. The payoff, I figured, probably wouldn’t be worth all of the money and time spent. 

I am thrilled to admit that I was wrong, and that tiny libraries like mine can, in fact, have big events that are just as successful as a library 10 times their size.

Emergency Preparedness Planning

the word "help" spelled in matches

To better prepare the community in case of an emergency, the Dallas Public Library prepared a joint library and community disaster preparedness plan. The plan included a one-shelf collection of books at seven branch locations and a one-shelf medical reference collection at three branch locations for the community to use in times of emergency.

We also created a pocket guide that would hold useful disaster preparation information and distributed 25 flash drives with pertinent information for use during a disaster when access to our server might be inhibited.

A Tale of Two Organizations: Talking about Affordable Housing on the Lower East Side

nypl's picture
graphic of city buildings

A brief look at the history of New York City’s Lower East Side (LES) reveals that this little patch of land has always been an area ripe for intense debate. The portrayal of the neighborhood in books, film and other media is constant — the romance, horrors and bitter struggles. The LES is a place of rare historical significance, a community that has inspired generations of activists, radicals, advocates and new Americans to envision a better future.

Get a Jump on Spring with Gardening Programs at Your Library

nlenstra's picture
hands holding soil with plant growing out of it

For public libraries and community partners across North America, February is prime time for gardening programs. There are many types of gardening programs you can offer, and many partners you can work with to develop them. 

A quick survey of the gardening programs being offering this February and March in North America reveals that libraries are offering:

100 Days/100 Books

aruefle's picture
Wall of 100 books read by students on the 100th day of school.

Every year in late January or early February, children all over the country celebrate the 100th day of school with all sorts of clever projects — bringing 100 items to school, wearing “100th-day” glasses, listing 100 things they love to do. Why not add a reading activity to this list? Ask a group of younger students to read 100 books on the 100th day of school in one hour!

See What I'm Saying

Three children sitting down and looking at books

See What I’m Saying was a children’s program that promoted reading, writing and public speaking skills in students in kindergarten through grade 5.

The program took place on Saturday mornings over a nine-week period at our county’s Civic Center (since the library doesn’t allow food). At each session, kids were invited select a book, read the book, write a brief report about it, and share their report out loud to a group.

Partnerships: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

lishizaka's picture
A man and a woman shake hands over a table

Our last blog post — in which we assessed our community's needs and set out to create a health and wellness program series for older adults — ended with a good idea, lots of enthusiasm ... and approximately zero dollars. How were we going to fund this fantastic smorgasbord of health, wealth and self-care program opportunities for the 55-and-older crowd on the Peninsula?

Partnering with Academic Institutions for Health and Wellness Programming

nlenstra's picture
Group of people walking toward a campus building

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 4,360 colleges and the universities in the United States. More likely than not, there is a college or university close to you — and partnering with them is a great way to bring high-quality health and wellness programming to your library.

Big Programs, Little Budget: Forging Community Partnerships in a Small Town

Meservey, Iowa, is tiny — fewer than 250 residents —  and the library’s budget is tight. Despite this, the Meservey Public Library has managed to triple its program attendance in the past few years and create many memorable, budget-friendly events. 

Drawing on her experience as director of the Meservey Public Library, Chelsea Price will share ideas for hosting "big" programs on a small budget and discuss how partnerships can be an invaluable resource for programming. 

Participants of this session will:

Read to Swim

Girl wearing swim floaties. Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

Read to Swim is a joint summer program with the Yukon Public Library and the local community pool that strives to get children familiar with the library space and reading during their break. It took place from July 6, 2018, through the end of August 2018.

After reading for one hour at the library, kids are given a voucher for free admission to the pool.

Storytime in the Orchard

Woman reading outside to a crowd

Storytime in the Orchard is an all-ages storytime hosted by Boyertown Community Library and Frecon Farms. It is held outdoors on Thursdays at 9 a.m. from mid-June through October, weather permitting.

This program enhances awareness of local agriculture, provides a family experience of nature and boosts health literacy while having fun.

Hospitals & Health Care Systems: Natural Partners for Library Health Programming

nlenstra's picture
Red stethoscope with red felt heart on turquoise background

Health care systems and hospitals can be the best partners you can have for health programming. Public libraries in the U.S. have worked with hospitals to offer everything from bike safety programs to healthy cooking classes to fun, engaging hand hygiene games.

Parks & Rec: A Health Programming Partner

nlenstra's picture
A young girl playing with bubbles in a park

Each year, one Sunday in late April is National ParkRX Day. This day celebrates the “the growing movement of prescribing parks and nature to patients to improve human health.” National ParkRX Day builds upon the U.S. Surgeon General’s call to promote walking and walkable communities. Americans need to move more, and parks are the perfect place for that.

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