Partnerships and networks are vital to effective YA service. Developing a true partnership (a relationship between two organizations who are working toward a mutually agreed upon goal) as opposed to simply making a contact, takes some effort.
Choosing an organization with compatible goals, nurturing the relationship, regularly communicating, and continuously evaluating the project are all very important to a successful outcome. The following are examples of perfect YA service connection agencies. You will undoubtedly be able to come up with others based upon your own community:
Making connections around town serves a dual purpose. It improves your awareness of available resources and it reminds other organizations that you exist. These connections can prove beneficial in many ways. They can not only refer YAs to your collection and services, but also make your budget go farther by providing prizes, presenters or other support for programming.
An ideal partnership, although often overlooked as one, is that between the public and school library. Staff should be familiar with one another, keep in touch, and work together as much as possible throughout the year in order to reach YAs effectively.
At the same time the two can provide mutually beneficial support to one another in areas of school curriculum (remember in the Services section – “school assignment alert”) and recreational and summer reading.
According to Patrick Jones, school staff can benefit by
Public staff can benefit by
Ultimately, it is the student who benefits most when the two entities cooperate. Students experience
Jones’ mnemonic for successful school-public library (and school library-teacher) cooperation is called FASTING:
For best success, try to tie a visit into the curriculum
Proactively and directly, collect information you need
Learn regular rhythms, timetables to include your information
Teach teachers about libraries
Seek out “teachable moments” – ideal situations
Attend staff meetings, attend, and speak at PTAs etc.
Remember teachers are merely a means to the end of reaching YAs
More details on these concepts can be found in his book, Connecting Young Adults and Libraries 2nd Ed.
Keep in mind that developing partnerships may take some initial time and effort as well as maintenance, but the ongoing rewards are worth all the work.
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