Library Program & Communication with the Learning Community

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If you are a school librarian, then communicating with others in your learning community will help you be more successful at your job. This lesson discusses the role of communication and strategies for effective communication from the library.

Why Communication Matters

As a librarian at Happytown Elementary, Andrea really values the relationships she forms with students, colleagues and families. Lately, though, she has started to understand that this communication is more than just pleasant for her. In fact, the communication channels she opens allow her to make the most of her library program.

When Andrea communicates with others in her learning community, the broader community of people involved with Happytown and its success, she learns more about curriculum, policies, standards, needs and instructional techniques. She is also better able to explain the resources of the library and make them more accessible to community members.

Communication With Students

Of course, some of Andrea's most important communication happens with the students at Happytown. She knows that some school librarians meet with students regularly for library classes, while others, like herself, integrate the library into students' other classes and work.

In either case, Andrea understands that it is key to keep communication with students respectful and open. She strives to get to know each child in her school as a whole person, which means learning about their strengths, struggles and interests.

Andrea uses the following strategies to communicate with students:

  • She visits each classroom at the school at least once a month to teach a lesson on library skills and find out what books students are reading.
  • She hosts fun events, like Harry Potter parties, in the library, using these as an opportunity to learn more about the students in her school.
  • She allows students to drop into the library to check out materials when they are finished with classwork or in the half hour before and after school.
  • She writes a monthly newsletter to students about what is available in the library, including new acquisitions, bulletin boards and special events.

Communication With Colleagues

Andrea's communication with colleagues is also key to the success of her library, as well as to her professional satisfaction. She meets with other teachers at regular faculty meetings, and she also attends one grade-level meeting for each grade every month.

At these meetings, Andrea asks questions about what she can do to integrate the library into the curriculum her colleagues are teaching. She also informs teachers about new policies, acquisitions and events.

Andrea knows that teachers are not the only colleagues who can benefit from using the library. She is friendly and open in her communication with all school staff, and encourages them to come peruse her collection and give input into what is missing. One month, she creates a library bulletin board about the people working behind the scenes at her school. Next to this bulletin board, she has a display of books about the important jobs that make up a community, and she leaves cards for students and teachers to write messages to people like paraprofessionals, custodians and secretaries they appreciate.

Communication With The Broader Community

Finally, Andrea feels a strong sense of responsibility to communicate about the library to the broader Happytown Community. This includes families of students, alumni, and leaders in the neighborhood and town.

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