It’s Tuesday, October 15, as I write this, and Ramseur librarians Sandra Livingston and Sandy Jarrell are talking to Coleridge School fifth graders about North Carolina Book Award nominees.
There’s nothing unusual about that, except that Sandra and Sandy haven’t left the library, and the students are at the school.
The librarians and the students are communicating via Skype, the online faceto-face video communication tool. It’s the latest way in which librarians reach out to students in schools, and to their parents as well. But library involvement with the schools is a longstanding tradition. Elementary school classes routinely visit the libraries for storytimes and other events. The Seagrove library hosts holiday and other special programs for various classes in grades K-3 and the pre-K program, and North Carolina programs for fifth graders.
It’s not unusual to find Seagrove librarian Barbara Luther dressed up as turkey, or a Christmas tree, or a pumpkin or Johnny Appleseed, depending on the holiday or the season. When the weather is bad, Barbara takes storytime to the school. Classes from various schools frequently visit Asheboro’s Children’s Room. For years teachers from Lindley Park School have walked their kindergarten classes up to the library (one memorable day, the combined kindergartens posed for a photo at the fountain).
Now, children’s librarian Susan Coltrane visits the school each month to bring storytimes to them. We also reach out to the kids and their parents during “Family Night” events at various Asheboro City and Randolph County elementary schools. Last school year, staff from the Circulation and Children’s departments set up shop during about 15 of the events to make families aware of the library and our services, and to issue library cards to anyone who wanted one.
Sandra and Sandy have another Skype session set for tomorrow with another of the Coleridge fifth grade classes, and will continue with monthly meet-ups with classes in different grades. And countywide, we will continue to seek innovative ways to maintain the exchange between school and library.