Category: School and Public Library Collaboration

Successful Public and School Collaboration



Over the past few years my school partner and I have been getting the word out about our successful relationship. Marge Loch-Wouters asked me to share some tips for her amazing class. So Joanne and I got together for a few minutes…here’s a quick video with Cliff Notes on how to get started and what seems to work best for us:

Excuse the coughing at the end. We had just done a Kindergarten Social Program for a packed room of about 80 at 10:30 a.m. At noon we did a welcome program for the New Teacher Orientation. Directly after that we taped this segment (Twice. The first time we were nearly done and were attacked by a gigantic spider. I’m taking about Aragog big!). And since I’m very basic with the video editing the coughing stays. Haha! We’re off to lunch finally at 2 p.m.!


Additional ideas on mentioned programs:

Story Mob (using Press Here)

Summer Reading Collaborative Book Share

Thrive Thursday School Age Programming Blog Hop (Posts at various blogs first Thursday of the month)


You can also check out our webinar found here for more ideas.

An article Joanne and I wrote together that was published: School and Public Collaboration Library Sparks Article.

Here’s a great post about collaboration:


What are your favorite ways to collaborate?

Press Here: A Story Mob

Ever since I heard of Toronto’s Story Mob, I’ve been wanting to try it. I wasn’t sure exactly how I could make it work as an after school program, but I finally figured it out! I have great success with series programming at my library. I decided to run this program as a series:Press Here All Lights Out

  • Week One: Design and Decorate Props
  • Week Two: Design and Decorate  Props
  • Week Three: Practice
  • Week Four: Perform for parents

I chose one of my favorite stories, Press Here by Herve Tullet, to be the inaugural story. I ordered the following materials for the props:

  • DIY Knight’s Armor from Oriental Trading. I ordered 2 dozen: you need 15 for the story, plus a few in case of mistakes! $22.99 with shipping
    Or, you can use two pieces of 11 x 17 white construction paper and two strips of 3 x 11 for shoulder straps
  • Glue sticks (about 1 stick for each prop: total of 15)
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper in 9×12 size:
    • 12 Yellow  (2 for each Yellow dot costume, plus 1 for 1 Red, and 1 for 1 Blue)
    • 10 Red (2 for each Red dot costume)
    • 10 Blue (2 for each Blue dot costume)
  • Construction paper in 11×17 size:
    These will be used to create the dots dancing and getting bigger at the end of the story. You can cut a variety of circles: whole, half and quarter. 

    • 7 Yellow
    • 7 Red
    • 7 Blue
    • 7 Orange
    • 7 Purple
    • 7 Green
  • Circle stencils (I used the lids of my pots and pans set from home)
  • Black crayons
  • 2 pieces of masking tape or Velcro to add 2 Yellow dots on top of 1 Red and 1 Blue for the beginning of the story
  • Optional: Musical instruments: I already have egg shakers and scarves from storytime
  • Optional: 5 small flashlights and hole puncher
  • Optional: I laminated each Dot costume because I used this for class visits and for professional development.

Instructions for Props:

Assemble 15 DIY Knight’s Armor into three equal piles:

  • 5 for yellow
  • 5 for red
  • 5 for blue

Please note: Yellow’s construction is different than Blue and Red.

5 Yellow Dots:

Press Here Yellow Front
Yellow Front: Front side: One yellow dot in front. Backside: Plain white back.
Yellow Back:  Front side: Yellow dot in front with black crayon for lights out. Backside: Big circles of different colors.
Yellow Back:
Front side: Yellow dot in front with black crayon for lights out.
Backside: Big circles of different colors.

Optional for 5 Yellow: Add small LED flashlights to light up the yellow dots.

Press Here Yellow Flashlights

4 Red Dots:

Red: Front side: One red dot. Backside: Black crayon for lights out.
Red front:
Front side: One red dot.
Backside: Black crayon for lights out.
Red Back: Front side: One red dot with black crayon for lights out. Backside:
Red Back:
Front side: One red dot with black crayon for lights out.
Backside: Big circles of different colors.

1 Red Dot: Add Velcro or tape and add Yellow Dot on top of Red for the first few pages:

Press Here Yellow on Red

4 Blue Dots:

Press Here Blue Front
Blue Front: Front side: One blue dot. Backside: Black crayon for lights out.
Press Here Blue Back
Blue back: Front side: Blue dot with black crayon for lights out. Backside: Big circles of different colors.

1 Blue Dot: Add Velcro or tape and add Yellow Dot on top of Blue for the first few pages:

Press Here Yellow on Blue

Now you’re ready to create a Story Mob! You’ll need 15 children to be each dot. All extra children can have scarves and shakers to dance around with and shake. If you have under 15, you can use parents or adapt the story to fit the amount of children you have. For example, tap the Yellow dot three times.

Are you ready for the story? Here we go…

Press Here Ready

“Ready? Press Here and see what happens.”

Press Here Two Yellow

“Press the yellow dot again.”

Press Here Three Yellow

“Gently rub the dot on the left” (do the same with the right and rip off to expose a Blue dot):

Press Here Yellow Changes to Red

“Five quick taps on the Yellow dot.”

Press Here Five Yellows

“Five quick taps on the Red dot.”

Press Here Five Yellow and Red

“Five quick taps on the Blue dot.”

Press Here Five Yellow Red and Blue

“Not bad. Shake them up a bit!” (Kids dance and shake.)

“Perfect, let’s see what kind of pattern we’ve made…Blue, Yellow, Red, Blue, Yellow, Red. An A-B-C pattern!”

Press Here Patterns

“Uh, oh! Who turned off the lights?!” (Notice that the yellow dots are illuminated by the flashlights?!)

Press Here Yellow Lights Only

“I bet our dots can make a rainbow!”

Press Here Dark Rainbow

“What happens if we clap our hands?” (Clap 1,2,3,4,5 and let the other kids shake shakers, clap hands, wave scarves and run by everyone.)

Press Here Big Dots

“Oh, boy! Should we do it again? Press Here and start from the beginning!”

Press Here Last Yellow The EndMy school collaboration partner, Joanne Moore, and I worked together with the kids to create a video so you can see how it came out. We did this program as a class visit to promote my awesome summer reading programs. I think I’ll have maximum attendance!

4/30 Webinar


Thanks for joining us today! If you enjoyed today’s webinar, you may like my Storytime Tools online class beginning July 14 with ALSC.Lisa and Joanne

Here are additional resources you may find useful to inspire a professional relationship that will be beneficial to your community:

Program Ideas

Professional Ideas

Get Involved and Find Ideas

CLA 2014: Year Round Collaboration

Thanks for all who came to our Connecticut Library Association seminar on Year Round Collaboration! If you weren’t able to attend, I’ve attached our presentation below.

Lisa and Joanne

I will be doing more in-depth workshops, check them out:

  • “Get After-Schooled”: May 19 9 a.m.-noon @ Oliver Wolcott Library (Litchfield, CT)
  • “12 Months of Programs”: May 30 9 a.m.-noon: Connecticut State Library Program @ Middletown Library Service Center Meeting Room (Middletown, CT)
  • “Storytime Tools”: Online class beginning July 14 with ALSC (online worldwide!)

Here are additional resources you may find useful to inspire a professional relationship that will be beneficial to your community:

Program Ideas

Professional Ideas

Get Involved and Find Ideas


Signup for Professional Development Workshops

Signup for Professional Development Workshops

Hey friends,

I’ll be conducting two upcoming workshops at the end of April, so join me!


The first is open to anyone with a computer! I’ll be doing my first webinar with a friend for the ALA. Click here to register.

12 Months of Children’s Programming: Grades K through 6 (ALA Editions Workshop)
A 90-minute workshop, Wednesday, April 30, 2014 2:30pm Eastern/1:30 Central/12:30 Mountain/11:30am Pacific
Library programs and services for children need to incorporate programs for elementary-age children that integrate the school, the library, and the community. Lisa M. Shaia and Joanne M. Moore will show librarians how to do just this using their fully-integrated, holistic approach, which builds children’s programming with schools and the full calendar year in mind.

In this workshop, Shaia and Moore will offer a month-by-month approach to children’s programming that includes strategies for working with teachers and using the summer months to enhance literacy and learning while school is out. They will also discuss how to finance these programs through fundraising events.

After participating in this event, participants will be able to:

  • Plan monthly programs to appeal to both early elementary and upper elementary age groups.
  • Learn ways to collaborate with their local school system and the school schedule to make it easier for children to attend programs.
  • Plan fundraising programs for the library.

The second one is for any north-easterners who will be attending the Connecticut Library Association’s annual conference in Cromwell, CT. My seminar is scheduled for Tuesday, April 29 at 3:00 p.m. Click here to register. Again, I will be working with my school media specialist partner to discuss Year Round Collaboration:

Lisa and Joanne

Create a “Dream Team” with your public children’s librarian and school media specialist. Learn tips on making a successful relationship, discover ways to make the school schedule work for families to participate in programs, and gather tips on “auctioning” your services for fundraising. Participants will leave with a calendar of programs, and a list of ideas for fundraising.
I’d love to meet you!
Summer Reading Collaborative Book Share Program

Summer Reading Collaborative Book Share Program

Summer Reading Book Display K6

Summer Reading Book Display Mid High

One of the ways my summer reading program is successful is in the book share program we have with the local school system. Beginning in May my public library starts accepting deliveries of books from the schools. The books come in boxes and I begin sorting the piles into grade level and labeling them. Here’s one from the 6th grade list:

Summer Reading Book Labeled with Grade

I use orange tape because it has no other significance in my library system.

The second step is cataloging them. I use the record in our system for the books we already own and use a special summer code to designate the book:

Summer Reading Book RecordI use the school book barcode for ease of running reports in the fall, and type in the grade level for the call number. The books are displayed in a special section with signs and circulation information for patrons.

We setup a special modifier in our circulation system to allow:

  • the books to circulate only to our patrons who live in our town
  • limit 2 books per card to be checked out at a time
  • the circulation period is 14 days with no renewals

In other libraries I’ve worked in, we cannot use a book barcode that differs from our designated number system. In that case I hide the barcodes on the copyright page and use the special color coded tape to cover up the school barcode so it won’t scan. Of course, I worked with the schools to get permission to do this! I tried temporary barcodes once and it was a disaster! We lost books and didn’t know who had them. The children’s books definitely need something permanent:

Summer Reading Book Barcode on Copyright Page

At the end of the summer I pack up the books and deliver them to the schools. I run a report with outstanding books. If, by October, the books are not returned a list goes to the school and they sort it out.

I also run a circulation report and give the circ numbers to each school so they can add it into their total circulation for the year. (This is a great way for the school book budget to increase.)

This program is a win-win! We both get circulation up and patrons have double the choices of book selection they normally would. It’s hard work on both of our efforts, but it’s well worth it.

How do you collaborate with the schools for success?

For more ideas about summer reading check out Catch the Possibilities. She’s hosting Flannel Friday’s Summer Reading Extravaganza this week!

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