Using Community Resources to Support the Media Center Program

Instructor: Susan Graziano

Susan has taught high school English and has worked as a school administrator. She has a doctorate in Educational Leadership.

In this lesson, you will learn about the ways in which the library media specialist can locate and utilize available resources to promote and support the Media Center Program.

Making Every Penny Count

The Media Center is often a central hub of a school building. All students, at some point or another, visit the Media Center to check out books, learn how to conduct thoughtful research, and access the available technology resources. Often times, the budget for the Media Center doesn't reflect the amount of foot traffic that it serves. However, with a bit of creativity and a commitment to being resourceful, the library media specialist can stretch those budget dollars while growing the Media Center program.

A school

Guest Authors

Guest authors are a great way to increase interest in the Media Center. If, for example, your school participated in a 'One Book One School' event, inviting the author to visit and speak to your students is an excellent way to further connect your students to the book. When a school participates in a One Book One School event, all of the students in the school read the book and participate in different developmentally appropriate activities. It's a great way to connect students, families, and staff through reading.

Most often, however, there's a fee for this visit. Therefore, it's important to plan accordingly and make sure that you have the funds available for the associated costs. You can get creative here as well. Many authors will agree to Skype with your students at a discounted rate. If you have the ability to project the author's Skype visit, this is an excellent way to create a meaningful experience for your students while being conscious of your budget.

If you're lucky, there may be an author among your school community. You just never know who may be local and willing to share their talents. If there's a local author, you can certainly work out an arrangement with that author to come and speak in exchange for some additional local publicity.


Storytellers are professional artists who perform a story or a series of stories for their audience. They often include music, dancing, singing, and props as part of the performance. Inviting a storyteller to your school is a great way to foster students' listening skills while introducing them to the wonderful world of active storytelling.

Again, storytellers often charge a fee for a visit. However, you may have these resources within your school. Do you know of any teachers who are wonderfully engaging when telling a story to their students? Consider 'recruiting' them to organize and perform a particular story for a group of students. You could accomplish this on a small scale, or in a large auditorium. It is up to you to decide what programs your students would benefit from the most.

A storyteller performing

Digital storytelling is a more recent art form. Digital storytelling is shared by taking a combination of graphics, videos, music, text, and other forms of media and combining them to create a story. Your students are likely able to do this to some extent on their own.

You can get very creative with digital storytelling. For example, you could hold a digital storytelling contest for all willing participants. Ask them to tell the story of the media center, the school, or another topic of particular interest to your school community. Air them to the student body, post them to the school website, send out a digital poll, asking the school community to vote for their favorites. All of these activities require you to spend little to no money and will draw attention to your Media Center program.

Information Consortia

A consortium is a group of two or more organizations who partner to achieve a common goal. There are several library consortia available to you, many of which are digital. You may not have to leave your cozy book nook to participate in consortium discussions, activities, and forums. There's a wide variety of online discussion forums, Twitter feeds, Facebook groups, and other information feeds that are very useful for library media specialists.

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