At next month’s conference in LA, school library visits are sure to once again be a key part of the annual event. During the rest of the year, I know I am one of many who benefit from visiting other schools’ libraries as part of regional/provincial/state library groups. And I know I’m preaching to the converted when I say that seeing school libraries in action, in person, has proven invaluable to both the improvement of my own library, and to my growth as a librarian.
So much so that I often take advantage of my personal travel to visit other libraries – school, public, academic (or special, if possible). Some visits are serendipitous, some planned. This break, I’ve been lucky to be in Florida, and reached out to the librarian at an independent school in the area, who was kind to welcome me for a visit. Visits such as this allow me the opportunity to:
- Explore physical library space, see different furniture and equipment in use and get great leads on recommended vendors (as well as finding out what hasn’t lived up to expectations)
- Examine physical collections, talk about digital collections and be inspired by creative displays
- At school libraries, see class scheduling in action and think about what how it might inform what I’m currently doing; discuss similar program and service challenges and possible resolutions, in and out of the library; learn about school culture and speak with students; and talk about the benefits of AISL with independent school librarians, some who may not belong (yet 🙂 )
- At public libraries, pick the brains of the teen librarian (hot titles! cool programs!) and talk with staff about any partnerships they may have with local schools
- At university libraries, ask about what skills they would like first-year students to have already mastered (and consider how aligned my programme is with these expectations), and look into special programming (eg. supporting students during exams)
Why do YOU like to visit other libraries?