Community Partnership and Academic Libraries

With many universities and communities feeling the sting of shrinking budgets, academic libraries have become an important source of community and university growth and advancement. This is not a new arrangement as more than 90% of academic libraries have provided access to library facilities and resources to community members since the 1960s (Leong, 2013, p. 223). Communities provide a source material for scholarly work. Mutual respect for what each group brings to the table is vital for successful partnerships. Leong breaks down the benefits of academic library support for both the library and the community:

1) Community access- Libraries can offer their resources to the community.

2) Information literacy- Community members use library resources to evaluate, assimilate, and create scholarly work.

3) Cooperation, exchange and partnership- Non-academic and academic librarians can share experiences, skills, and resources.

4) Exhibitions and scholarly events- The university is provided a way to advertise scholarly work through publicized projects.

(Leong, 2013, p. 220)

The following three academic libraries express these four principles through their engagement with the community.

University of Toronto Library

Community partnerships can become integral to both groups and provide long-term benefits. Community access has long been a value of University of Toronto Libraries. The library has served the community in one form or another since its founding through focusing on information literacy. The first major library built in 1859 held a public reading room and now most of the 44 Toronto University libraries are accessible by the public. Community borrowers can even access research libraries if special dues are paid (Leong, 2013, 224). While some might fear this hinders the service provided to primary patrons (students and faculty), it is outweighed by the numerous benefits. Access builds support in the community, provides a foundation for working with community groups, and acknowledges community funding (Leong, 2013, p. 223). The success of the community feeds into the success of the library (Leong, 2013).

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Digital repositories can be a welcomed boom for community partnership initiatives. For larger institutions there can be many partnerships going on at once, making it important to track and coordinate university efforts. During the course of UMA’s proposal to gain Carnegie community engagement classification, which requires a way for an institution to track its community partnership data, the digital repository project was devised. UMA library’s efforts to “improve institutional mechanisms for tracking and reporting activities and impacts” would allow a more holistic means of tracking data (Miller, 2012, p. 115). The key to successful partnerships lies in funding and sustainability. Digital records allowed college officials and the community to see the fruits of the program and plan accordingly. The dissemination of the results through an open access repository provides an alternate distribution method to costly academic journals, which weigh heavily on the budgets of many universities to host (Miller, 2012, p. 113).  However, staffing for the community partnerships section was redirected in 2010, leaving its fate uncertain (Miller, 2012). This could have been the result of one problem pointed out by Miller: the inability to capture faculty motivation due to academic assessment systems poorly tracking individual contribution (Miller, 2012, p. 111).

University of British Columbia

Public libraries often have a section dedicated to local history, but it would be a tall order to document the history of an entire immigrant group. Academic libraries like no other institution can “serve faculty and the public as an institutional memory for the community” (Cho, 2011, p. 18). These institutions have the tools and expertise to implement costly and long-term projects that reach beyond the community. The stories and impact of Chinese-Canadians have not been well documented. To correct this historical blind spot, the libraries of University of British Columbia created an online database of community history that included oral histories, documents, and artifacts that would be easily accessible to the public. The library not only provided a meeting place for community members to tell their stories and digitization workshops to preserve them, but also devised a new classification system that took into account the intricacies of Chinese-Canadian scholarship. Not only does it serve the university with the creation of new scholarly opportunities and material, it creates tools for other libraries, schools, and institutions to spread and build off their work (Cho, 2011).


Do you think it is the duty of academic institutions to provide access to community members? Why or why not?


Hang Tat Leong, J. (2013). Community Engagement – Building Bridges between University and Community by Academic Libraries in the 21st Century. Libri: International Journal Of Libraries And Information Services, (3), 220.

Miller, W. A., & Billings, M. (2012). A University Library Creates a Digital Repository for Documenting and Disseminating Community Engagement. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 16(2), 109-121. Retrieved November 4, 2013, from

Cho, A. (2011). Bringing History to the Library: University-Community Engagement in the Academic Library. Computers In Libraries, 31(4), 15-18.


Community Partnerships for Special Libraries

A survey of literature on community partnerships for special libraries yields results as diverse as the field itself. While there are many types of special libraries, here I would like to focus on outreach efforts put forward by health, art, and government document libraries.

Health Libraries

Opportunities for health libraries to work with communities are myriad. Acc0rding to Wood, Siegel, and Dutcher, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) has put forward initiatives to promote the well-being of members of the Native American community. In 1996, NLM assessed its support of this community and found it to be lacking. In the years since their support has rapidly expanded.  One such program provided health science library internships to Hispanic and/or Native American library students. Another popular program has utilized powwows as a forum to demonstrate Medline Plus and other online health resources (Wood, Siegel, and Dutcher, 2005).

A further example of community partnerships initiated by health librarians exists in the area of disaster preparedness and response. Featherstone states that to some, the connection between LIS professionals and disaster management may not be immediately apparent. In reality, rapidly obtaining and evaluating the right kinds of information is vital to disaster efforts.  Libraries have responded to disaster situations by helping patrons fill out government relief or other assistance forms. They have also worked with shelter facilities to establish makeshift libraries, and compiled information to be distributed by call centers (Featherstone, 2012).

Art Libraries

Art Libraries have historically supported the visual and textual research needs of art students. However, Leousis reports that one program at Washington University in St. Louis took a more business-oriented approach. The art librarian partnered with the director of a design and research studio to develop a workshop and guide which advised art students on how to obtain grants and other funding post-graduation (Leousis, 2013).

Gluibizzi states that an additional way for art libraries to reach out and forge new community relationships is by collaborating with museums. Such a relationship was envisioned between the Ohio State Libraries and the Columbus Museum of Art. The two institutions worked together to design an exhibition and outreach program to jointly showcase respective collections which complemented one another. The initial plan was shelved when the partners failed to secure a grant to fund it. However, strengthened relationships between the library and museum persisted (Gluibizzi, 2008).

Government Document Libraries

An interesting community opportunity for government documents collections is to expand their efforts to reach young patrons. According to Adamich et al., the El Paso Public Library created a Government Documents Children’s Collection and located it in their Children’s Department. The display featured resources oriented toward kids, parents, and teachers. The program led to increased circulation for these materials and greater awareness of the Government Documents Department at the library. At the National level, the Federal Depository Library Program has created programs to engage kids, as well. In 2006 a Government Documents Kids Group was founded. This team promotes the use of government document titles by, “making presentations to groups of children and professional organizations, writing articles, creating websites, and organizing an annual Constitution Day Poster Contest.” (Adamich, Childers, Davis, and Faria, 2012).


In closing, special libraries have a wide variety of avenues to reach out into communities with innovative programs. A review of such initiatives reveals exciting opportunities to promote unique collections and both attract and serve users.


Adamich, T., Childers, M., Davis, K., Faria, J., & Satterfield, A. (2012). The gov doc kids group and free government information. IFLA Journal, 38(1), 68-77. doi:10.1177/0340035211435324

Featherstone, R. (2012). The Disaster Information Specialist: An Emerging Role for Health Librarians. Journal Of Library Administration, 52(8), 731-753.

Gluibizzi, A. K. (2009). The world of outreach: one art librarian’s perspective. Library Review, (2).

Leousis, K. (2013). Outreach to Artists: Supporting the Development of a Research Culture for Master of Fine Arts Students. Art Documentation: Bulletin Of The Art Libraries Society Of North America, 32(1), 127-137.

Wood, F. B., Siegel, E. R., & Dutcher, G. A. (2005). The National Library of Medicine’s Native American    outreach portfolio: a descriptive overview. Journal of The Medical Library Association, 93(4), S21-S34.

For Discussion:

How might primary school children benefit from the use of Government Document collections?

Archives and the Community- Building a Tighter Identity

Archives don’t typically advertise their collections, they simply collect and preserve.  However, those resources represent the communities they collect from and they provide a valuable resource to those communities.  More community involvement can also increase the collections and more resources reach the archives.

Partnering with the community takes a bit more creativity, as archives inherently have that prison-like feel where information goes in, but rarely comes out.  Partnering with community centers, schools and local museums can raise awareness to what the archives has to offer.  However, since a lot of archives are connected with universities, there is a lot that the universities can do to help too.

Creating events or exhibitions that will promote the collections at the archives is one way that archives can get involved in the community. The BYU Museum of Art’s exhibition in 2011-2012 on the three American painters from the Weir family showed a partnership between the special collections archives and the museum (BYU Museum of Art, 2012).  The bulk of the exhibition was part of the museum’s permanent collection and the artists’ papers were located in the archives.  While collaborating to research the exhibition, both the special collections archives and the museum of art increased awareness about the others collections.  The museum especially highlighted the special collection’s digital project as the special collections pushed the Weir papers digitization up to meet the exhibition timeframe (BYU HBLL Digital Collections, 2013).  While this shows a partnership from within a university setting, these principles can be applied to a community setting as well.

Similar events can promote community unity when the archive and other entities are more directly related to the community.  UCLA partnered with a LA archive called AFAMILA (Archiving Filipino American Music in Los Angeles) and a local Philippine Folk-Arts project called Kayamanan Ng Lahi (KNL) giving the archive a $40,000 grant to partner with the KNL to improve the AFAMILA’s collections and spread awareness.  This gave the community a chance to get involved, hiring community members and students to record Filipino music and performances.  This improved the collection, got the community involved, and increased awareness in the campus community as well.  Most importantly, the Filipino community knew that the archive was theirs and the archive became part of the community (Vallier, 2010).

Utah State University did something similar working with other universities in the state, as well as the American Folklore Society, to expand and promote the Fife Folklore Archives on USU campus.  Working within the school’s folklore program, the archives got other state universities involved, and eventually the American Folklore society and government agencies, including the Library of Congress (Williams, 2004).  This started out on a smaller scale, and still has effects on the local community.  The Fife Folklore Archives’ Cowboy Poetry Collection helps the large cowboy poetry movement in the local community, greatly benefitting the annual cowboy poetry gatherings across the western states.  Archives involvement in events and festivals, such as the cowboy poetry gatherings, is a great way to spread awareness and community involvement, as the archives become personal to members of the community.

With archives being repositories for information, outreach is less common, but through a creative partnering, such as seen by these earlier examples, both the archives and the community can be improved and developed; especially in creating community identity and unity, such as recognizing and supporting the large Filipino population of LA, or the cowboy heritage of the western states.  Locally this could be implemented through promoting the local history of a community through the schools or museums, using the archives to supplement any events or exhibitions.

What partnerships between archives and community organizations could help with trending issues today?  Are there possibilities outside a university setting?

BYU Museum of Art. (2013, November 14). The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art. Retrieved from

BYU HBLL Digital Collections. (2013, November 14). Weir Family Papers & Photographs.  Retrieved from

Vallier, John (2010, September).  Sound Archiving Close to Home: Why Community Partnerships Matter. Notes,  67(1), 39-49.

Williams, Randy. (2004, January 1). Extending the Archives: Partnering and Outreach at the Fife Folklore Archives. Folklore Forum, 24(1/2), 51-65.

Areas for School Library Partnerships

There are three main areas for developing school library partnerships. Most partnerships offer support in sustaining or enhancing school budgets for library resources. The resources needed for the school library must be identified. After the needs have been identified, the appropriate community supporters can be approached. For limited financial support, grants and donations are available. Local community foundations or businesses can provide funding for the libraries. Target Department Stores, Walmart and Loew’s Supply Stores are examples of businesses that offer grants for school libraries. For the Walmart grants, the school library must be within a ten mile radius of the store. Target stores provide funding for the renovation of facilities and books. Loew’s provides for materials to store collections and materials for beautification projects. Local businesses are eager to support school libraries. The advantage of using grant funds is that the resources remain at the school level.

Another area involves using volunteers effectively. Volunteer pools can be created from parents, community service groups and service learning sectors in businesses, colleges and universities or community agencies. School boards and public library trustees, advocates and foundations can join partnerships to share staff and volunteers in creative ways.

The third area is innovative projects with public or academic libraries or groups within the local community. An excellent example of this practice is the partnership of the Kalamazoo Public Schools and the Kalamazoo Public Library to provide all first grade students with a public library card.

In your opinion, which area offers the most potential?

Reed, Sally. Amalgamating for Advocacy. American Libraries. Volume 40 Number 3 March 2009 Chicago: IL.

Rogers, Lelia. No Budget? Build a Community of Library Supporters! Library Media Connection. Volume 32. Number 2. p. 22.

Solutions and Services. American Libraries. March 2009

Learning about School Libraries

A great source to learn about school libraries in general is the School Library Monthly magazine. For thirty years this source has provided content for school librarians regarding major issues. This year, the editors will post articles from archived issues under “What’s New” on their website: to present perspectives on how school libraries have changed over time.

What is your best impression or memory about a school library?

School Library Monthly, Volume 30 Number 1 September-October 2013

Building a Creative Community for Children Within Libraries – R.E.A.D. With a Furry Friend

When you think of a man’s best friend, you think of the loving animal, the dog. Dogs have been a wonderful and joyous pet, as well as friend, to many families around the world. They are very caring, helpful, and accepting animals who love anyone and everyone around them, no matter what. As a result of their behavior, dogs have become a therapeutic tool to use towards people who are sick, disabled, and in need of a good friend. Therapeutic dogs have been around since World War II when dogs were trained to go around and visit the sick within hospitals. Since then, organizations and programs have been created and expanded to not only give hope and joy to those who are sick but also to those who are in need of good company.
In 1999, a program developed in Utah was designed for young readers to have a chance to read to trained therapeutic dogs. The thought behind this was, “kids would feel less stress reading if they were reading to someone who would never laugh at a mistake or judge them for mispronouncing a word” (Reading to Dogs Helps Kids Build Literacy Skills, 2009). From this thought, a national program across the United States was born. This program is called R.E.A.D., which stands for Reading Education Assistance Dogs. R.E.A.D. has become a world-wide success in bringing dogs and other animals, including cats and bunnies, to schools and local libraries for young children to read to. This program, including similarly named programs, PAWs for Reading, Read to a Dog, and READing Paws, is free to the public and encourages all types of young readers to come and read to these furry friends. Through R.E.A.D., it is anticipated that “the pets will calm children who are struggling, excite those who are bored and help kids equate reading with fun” (At Libraries, Children Find Delight in Reading to Dogs, 2012).
dog and kid Since these reading programs have started, they have become highly popular with young children and parents. Many young readers, who struggle, tend to sway away from reading, especially when reading to others, as these children feel insecure or embarrassed that they are unable to read at the same level as their peers do. As stated by Cynthia Power in At Libraries, Children Find Delight in Reading to Dogs, “Children never get a chance to read without someone telling them they mispronounced a word or skipped part of the story; we don’t give children that chance to just enjoy reading” (At Libraries, Children Find Delight in Reading to Dogs, 2012). With this program, children are able to sit down with a fuzzy friendly animal and read a book without feeling pressured to know a word or understand the story, as their animal friend will never talk back or make the reader feel insecure about themselves. The dogs are solely here to listen and reassure young readers that reading is fun and that everyone can do it.
Listed below are just some of the libraries within Michigan that are currently involved in the R.E.A.D. program. If you are interested in bringing a young reader to read with a dog, please check out your local library’s calendar of events, as well as surrounding libraries, as this opportunity for children should not be missed!

Clinton Macomb Library
Delta Township District Library
MacDonald Public Library
Blair Memorial Library
Rochester Hills Public Library
Petoskey District Library
St. Clair Shores Public Library
Redford Township District Library
Civic Center Library
Sterling Heights Public Library

Possible Discussion

What are your thoughts on this program? Do you think it is beneficial for a young reader to read to someone or something without hearing any feedback? Why or Why not?


Brundige, Wendy. (2009, August 16) Reading to Dogs Helps Kids Build Literacy Skills. Retrieved from ABC News:

Zoom Room Online. (2010) The First Therapy Dog. Retrieved from Zoom Room Online:

Svrluga, Susan. (2012, December 27) At Libraries, Children Find Delight in Reading to Dogs. Retrieved from The Washington Post:

Adult Services in Public Libraries: Creative Community Partnerships

Adult programming at the public library takes many forms, like book discussion and creative writing groups, art and history lectures, and English and assimilation classes for immigrants. Public libraries have gone beyond being just an information source for their communities. They continue to seek new ways to remain vital, to better serve their current patrons, and to attract new patrons.

Librarians assess the interests and the needs of their communities and plan programs and offer services designed to meet these interests or needs. Diverse interests must be fairly considered and no one segment can be deliberately excluded from offerings. This takes time and money, resources which are often in great demand and short supply. Libraries are partnering with individuals, groups, businesses, and others to share the load.

Partnerships can be short term or long lasting, casual or formal contracts. Some partnerships serve a very select, sometimes even controversial, group of individuals while others have a much broader community appeal. Library staff must monitor these partnerships, keeping what works and adjusting or eliminating what does not work. They also form new partnerships to meet changing demands. Before entering into partnerships, libraries need to clearly define the objective and the responsibilities of each party (time, space, money). There must be open communication between the parties.

Good partnerships benefit all partners in some way, perhaps just making one partner look good in the eyes of the community. The benefits for libraries often include more patrons, greater visibility and support due to a strengthening of the relationship with the community, and the ability to offer services they probably could not or would not otherwise provide.

Alone, we are a library. We focus on collections and programs and services that we all know are critical to both a democratic society and to the values of our towns and cities. But, together with partners and collaborators behind and around us, we are a larger and more impressive force of good, of change, and of effect. (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 23)

Public Librarians and Social Work

Call 2-1-1Underemployment, unemployment, lack of medical insurance, hunger, foreclosure, homelessness—just a few of the economic needs public librarians in communities across the country are being asked to help with on a daily basis. Whether it is assisting with writing a résumé, finding a job, filling out and posting an online application, contacting a utility company, or locating resources, libraries and their staffs are stepping up, either alone or through partnerships.

In Maryland, the Baltimore Coalition for the Homeless and the Baltimore County Library partnered to print “street cards” to disseminate where to get necessities such as food, clothing, medical care, and shelter (Mars, 2012, p. 34).

The 2-1-1 service (a listing of social service resources) provided by United Way and the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems partnered with the Memphis-Shelby County Public Library in Tennessee to house the call center in the library (Cathcart, 2008, p. 89). Reference librarians provide callers with referrals, not counseling, to get the services they need (Cathcart, 2008, p. 90).

The School of Social Work at San José University in California and the National Association of Social Workers partnered with the San José Public Library to set up an area in the library where patrons, mostly homeless, can speak to a social worker or graduate student (by appointment) who would be available to help (Estreicher, 2011, p. 14). Patrons receive contact information and referrals to resources they need and follow-up help is also available (Estreicher, 2011, p. 14).

People needing these types of services may have poor personal hygiene. They may have medical, mental, or substance abuse problems. Or they may simply need a place to sit down. As Mars (2012) noted, programs helping individuals with these economic needs may result in other patrons objecting to their presence in the library, but libraries could make information readily available concerning the economic situation in the local community, which may lessen or even avoid some of the negativity (pp. 33-34). The fact is, individuals who need economic relief are coming to libraries. Libraries operate under an open access policy. Having programs in place, ready to provide the service requested, is an efficient and dignified way to meet the needs of people suffering economic hardship, and it is a positive reflection on the library.

Public Librarians in Correctional Facilities

Prison BarsNinety-five percent of the approximately 2.24 million people imprisoned in the United States will eventually return to their communities, and strong family ties help ensure that the reintegration of this “largely invisible population” into society goes smoothly (Higgins, 2013, pp. 30-31). Literacy rates are lower and learning disability rates are higher among prisoners than among similar groups of the general public (Shirley, 2010b, p. 68). Libraries are entering into partnerships to provide literacy programs to promote library usage, to prepare inmates for reentry into the community, to strengthen the bonds between incarcerated parents and their children at home, and at the same time, to improve literacy rates for both parents and children.

The New York Public Library’s Correctional Services Program (CSP) received a grant of $3,800 from a “Daddy and Me at the Library” program paid for by the New York State Education Family Literacy Library Service Program (Higgins, 2013, p. 31). The CSP provided library services at the Eric M. Taylor Center on Rikers Island, and the CSP offered to start a family literacy program for fathers with young children, put together and funded by the CSP, to strengthen family bonds (Higgins, 2013, pp. 31-32). The resulting program included teaching the fathers about how children learn to read and write and how to choose books and read (or tell based upon the pictures if they could not read) stories to children (Higgins, 2013, pp. 32-33). Fathers recorded a story which was then burned to a disc, labeled, bundled with a new copy of the book and any letters or drawings fathers wanted to include, and delivered either in person at the facility or sent to the home (Higgins, 2013, p. 33). Library card applications were also made available and processed (Higgins, 2013, p. 33). The program utilizes volunteers and has been expanded and offered at additional facilities since its inception without additional funding beyond the original grant period (Higgins, 2013, p. 33).

The Somerset County Library System partnered with the prison library at the Eastern Correctional Institute West in Maryland to offer an adult summer reading game program (Shirley, 2010a, p. 72). Participants also wrote book reviews, which led others to read new books and increased circulation (Shirley, 2010a, p. 72). Some of the men encouraged their children to attend their local libraries’ summer programs, creating a common bond (Shirley, 2010a, p. 72). Participants were thankful for the program, seeing books as “new friends” and as a “stress buster” (Shirley, 2010a, p. 72).

The Maryland Correctional Education Libraries started the Reading Is Fundamental program and partnered with the Enoch Pratt Free Library to offer the program at the Maryland Correctional Institution at Jessup and later at the Maryland House of Corrections (Shirley, 2010b, pp. 68-69). Inmates were trained to be facilitators, to tell stories, and to plan programs (Shirley, 2010b, p. 70). Participants in the program had to apply, had to be interviewed to make sure they understood that reading was at the heart of the program, and had to be approved by prison security (Shirley, 2010b, p. 70). Security measures were strictly enforced at all times (Shirley, 2010b, p. 70). The program was held in the specially decorated visiting room and books were displayed (Shirley, 2010b, p. 70). In a break from normal, children were allowed to sit next to their fathers (Shirley, 2010b, p. 70). Library card applications were distributed to participants’ families, and arrangements were made to include the family members in their local library summer reading programs (Shirley, 2010b, p. 71). Comments from the men indicated it was a positive experience (Shirley, 2010b, p. 71). Benefits include improved literacy skills for use after release from prison, incentive for good behavior in order to participate in the program and visit with family, positive interaction between the fathers and their children, participation looks good at a parole hearing, and an effective program makes the prison look good (Shirley, 2010b, p. 69).

Higgins (2013) notes that libraries have an inclusive mission, that in our society every citizen has rights, and that prisoners have a right to library services (p. 34). Some people argue that criminals give up their rights when they commit a crime, that prisoners are offered too many luxuries, and that public library resources should not be used for their benefit. However, the services provided help prepare inmates for a successful reentry into the community and cost far less than providing for a repeat offender’s return to prison. Further, money cannot begin to reflect the value of improving literacy among prisoners and their children.

Public Libraries Partnering for Programs, Services, and Technology

Dollar SignOhio’s Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library uses partnerships to improve services, programs, and technology as it strives to be “the place where its residents meet and make good use of their community’s central meeting space” (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, pp. 15-16).

After remodeling the main branch in 2006, the library revised its meeting room usage policies, allowing rentals for things like baby showers, wedding showers, weddings, and family reunions (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 21). Much of the thousands of dollars earned from the rentals is needed to maintain the rooms, but benefits are derived from the guests who attend these functions—new customers who see the library as a center for engagement and support its activities (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 21). The library provides rental customers with the names of local catering partners who share a portion of their profits with the library and its Friends group (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 17). In addition, the library receives a discount whenever it has an event catered (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 17).

The library partners with a local vending machine company since food and drink are allowed anywhere in the library (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 15). The library requires that at least half of the items offered meet national health standards, but there are still lots of popular options, like pizza, and the library receives thousands of dollars from this partnership to use for programs and technology (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 18). The library also asked for a vending machine to fill with office supplies, which the company supplied at no cost to the library, and the Friends stock it with items like pens and paper and enjoy 100 percent of the profits (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, pp. 18-19).

The library has a space which it leases out at a reduced rate and in return the tenant provides free programs and events (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 19). It partners with a non-profit ceramics group and showcases their items in display cases and exhibits relevant collection materials when classes or programs are offered (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 19). The library also allowed a local theater to rent and convert an unused area of the building into a “Black Box” theater, complete with lighting and sound, at the theater’s expense (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 19). The theater partners with the library to host drama-type activities like plays and classes which the library could not offer before (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 19). It created a revenue stream which covers the cost of maintaining the program (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 19). The partners increased each other’s visibility in the community with their marketing strategies (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 19).

“Profit is no longer a four-letter word in library circles” (Hakala-Ausperk, 2011, p. 16). It spells success for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library as it has partnered to procure funds to improve technology, programs, and services by making the library the place to go for community engagement.

Possible Discussion

Is it reasonable for a library to expect its staff to go off site, such as to a prison, to better meet the needs of the diverse groups in the community it serves?


Cathcart, R. (2008). Librarian or social worker: Time to look at the blurring line? The Reference Librarian, 49, 87-91. doi:10.1080/02763870802103845

Estreicher, D. (2011). Our homeless customers and social workers in the library. In N. M. Hill (Co-Ed.), Public libraries and the homeless. Public Libraries, 50(6), 13-22. Retrieved from

Hakala-Ausperk, C. (2011). Waking up the neighborhood: Partnerships with local businesses and art communities. In K. Ellis (Ed.), Partnerships and collaborations in public library communities: Resources and solutions (pp. 15-23). doi:10.4018/978-1-61350-387-4.ch002

Higgins, N. (2013). Family literacy on the inside. Public Libraries, 52(1), 30-35. Retrieved from

Mars, A. (2012). Library service to the homeless. Public Libraries, 51(2), 32-35. Retrieved from

Shirley, G. (2010a). Has your public librarian been to prison? Participation in shared grant projects. In C. Smallwood (Ed.), Librarians as community partners: An outreach handbook (p. 72). Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Shirley, G. (2010b). Has your public librarian been to prison? Participation in summer reading games. In C. Smallwood (Ed.), Librarians as community partners: An outreach handbook (pp. 68-71). Chicago, IL: American Library Association.