I love spending time working at our North Branch Library’s front desk, fielding the wild variety of questions from, “Someone told me about a book, but all I can remember is that it was black with some gold on the cover...” (I thoroughly enjoy these conversations that inevitably turn into either 20-questions or are miraculously solved on the first try) to, “Could you help me scan this paper so I can send it in an email?” When I’m not at that desk, you might find me sifting through books and shelves, attending meetings, or planning programs for kids. You may also find me outside the walls of the library, doing things like visiting classrooms full of kids! In library-land, we call this “outreach.” Outreach comes in many forms, but those classroom visits are special.
Educators in our local community know that the library is a place that can anchor their students outside the classroom. Our work inside the library complements everything an educator does in their classroom to develop lifelong learners. I regularly get requests from teachers to drop into their classrooms, either virtually or in person. For the younger kids, I typically chat about fun things we’re doing at the library, then jump into some silly songs and a read aloud. The older students usually get some book talks and a read aloud, and we might have a conversation about the books they’ve been reading.
The relationships I build on these visits turn magical when students visit the library with their families. “Hey, you were at my school! You read that Elephant and Piggie book about the bird!” I’m grateful to all the educators who make time in their incredibly busy schedules to connect their students with public services, like the library. When caregivers see that their child has a warm connection with the library, they are much more likely to come back to our welcoming space.