Libraries play a key role in a child’s education. From community to community, a collaborative movement is happening to help students succeed. Building on President Obama’s ConnectED initiative, efforts to leverage the assets of public libraries to enhance student success are proliferating throughout California and throughout the United States.
In Fiscal Year 2016/17, the Pacific Library Partnership (PLP) and NorthNet Library System (NLS) received an LSTA grant from the California State Library for a project we are calling the Student Success Initiative. Eleven public libraries from throughout Northern California are part of this project, representing various sizes and governances, from small single libraries to very large systems, are participating in this grant. They are paired with four public libraries which have already created school/library partnerships of varying degrees. The goal in this project is to provide support and technical assistance for our pilot sites in creating local Student Success Initiatives where public libraries will work with local school districts to give students public library cards. Libraries and schools will be able to best determine the model for Student Success in their community, which may include a full-service library card, sharing of student IDs and data between schools and libraries, or an e-resources card.
As a result of the work of the pilot libraries, PLP has created a Student Success Initiative Implementation Resource Toolkit of tested approaches that public libraries can use to establish relationships with schools, school districts, superintendents, and County Offices of Education, which result in shared student data to create library cards for students. This Toolkit represents what we have learned in the last year, and includes best practices, Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs), introductory letters and marketing which can be duplicated, as well as case studies from the libraries about their efforts throughout the year. In FY 2017/18, the Student Success Initiative has been expanded to a statewide grant with 36 pilot libraries and 9 mentor libraries.
Throughout this process, the number of examples of school/library partnerships continues to grow. The purpose of this website is to share some of those collaborations in order to provide ideas and resources for libraries. This project represents a potentially pivotal moment for both California public libraries and California schools, as well as for libraries throughout the United States, to create a true linkage in recognizing the vast commonality in who we serve.
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