Library Services for School-Age Youth
Early Elementary (K-3rd grade)
Early elementary school is when most children are in the process of learning how to read. This is an exciting time for public libraries to help young readers discover the types of books that they really love and motivate them to become independent readers.
- GainingSTEAM.org—STEAM programming ideas from WA librarians for all ages
- School-Age Resources from Jbrary—Jbrary has many storytime resources including videos and booklists along with professional development materials and this collection of school age programming resources.
- Programming Librarian—a website of the American Library Association Public Programs Office allows users to search by library type, budget, age range and more to find programs that are the right fit. Libraries can also submit their own program ideas to be included.
- Blog posts from the ALSC School Age Programs and Service Committee.
Partnerships with local Schools
If your staffing allows for it, reach out to your local schools to let them know that you are a community partner who is also committed to student learning. If you’re not sure which school district your library serves, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has maps and other resources available.
Teacher Librarians are often the best connection to make with schools in your community. They can help promote programs and services provided by the public library, as well as give you an opportunity to speak with students directly. The public library also has a unique opportunity to meet with teacher librarians and determine ways to support student learning such as library card drives and providing student access to online resources.
Often schools will host evening programs for students and caregivers to get to know teachers, programs and community organizations such as a STEM Night or Back to School Night. These are great opportunities to introduce community members to your services and possibly get some new library users. By working with school administrators to be present at school events, the library will be associated with learning and becomes more visible to community members who wouldn’t normally be able to come to the library in person.
Tweens (4th-7th grade)
If you don’t already have an established program to get library cards to students, now is a great time to do so. By 3rd or 4th grade, students are often reading to learn rather than learning to read and having a broader range of library materials available outside of school hours can help develop lifelong readers. As students transition to middle school, this is a great time to reach out to your middle school teacher librarians to set up class visits, research database sessions, or other new partnership opportunities.
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