I am totally inspired by the example of the library at Cambridgeport School as described in the blog article entitled Turning the school library into a community hub: here’s how. Librarian Liz Phipps-Soeiro didn’t use any fancy techniques, but instead opened the doors to community members as part of a regular weekly routine, inviting parents and civic leaders to meet in the library to talk on a range of topics over coffee. The series, called Coffee and Conversation, cost next to nothing to get off the ground, and the benefits have been far reaching for the school, the library program and the community in general.
She provides some tips for getting this going at other school sites, including getting buy-in from administrators and the parent organizations affiliated with the school. She notes the importance of sticking to a regular routine time for the gathering, so people can learn the habit of regular attendance.
I did this myself a couple of years ago when I served on my kids’ school board. I hosted a weekly early morning coffee time for teachers and parents to talk with their board representative (me). By keeping faithful to the regular schedule for that meet-up I discovered that people counted on me being there, took the opportunity to bring concerns and feedback to me there, and I built trust and understanding between the school board and others in the school community. I can see how that will be a great idea for hosting a general forum in the library. I’m curious if holding a meeting like that at a junior high will still garner an audience, since parents never get out of the car to drop off kids in the morning. Perhaps a survey to determine the best time and day would be wise before starting an event like this in my library.
Phipps-Soeiro, Liz (2015) Turning the school library into a community hub: here’s how. School Library Journal April 21, 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.slj.com/2015/04/programs/turning-the-school-library-into-a-community-hub-heres-how/