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Welcoming Parents In Your Library

Guest Author - Paula Laurita

By connecting parents and students in your library, you can raise awareness of the importance of the school library media center.

Parents are often unaware of who the school librarian is or ever step foot into the library. It is important for parents to know that more goes on in the library than just checking out books. This programming idea is geared to school libraries, but can be adapted to the public library setting.

Celebrate a special "Parents Week" in your library. Make certain to select a week when all classes are scheduled to visit the library.

Begin by coordinating with the school principal one-two months in advance. A month before begin building up the idea with the students. Begin by just mentioning that their parents will receive a special invitation to visit the library. Encourage the students to discuss it with their parents and support their attendance.

As the event approaches review some of the library basics with students. What are the areas in the library? Tell the students that they will be giving their parents tours of the library.

Create flyers and posters for the school. You may want to contact the local newspaper. If you have a school newspaper make certain to take photos that may be included in the next edition. Do you want to serve refreshments?

Two weeks before, send home an invitation, with each child stating the time and date of the parent/child library event. It can be a simple flyer.

Each day make certain the library is clean, decorated, and welcoming. Welcome all parents and give a brief description of what happens when their child comes to the library. If you know that some students will not have a parent attending incorporate them into your talk. They can hold audio visual materials, be stationed in different parts of the library as tour guides. Don't let them feel left out.

>If you plan a story time pick something fun. Are you going to have parents sit with their children? After the story have the students give their parents a tour of the library. They then select a book for check-out. As the student and parent come to the check-out counter make a point of meeting each parent and chatting briefly. If you have refreshments try and get a parent volunteer to help.

This simple event can raise your visibility with parents and promote the library beyond asking for money at book fairs. Help parents see librarians as integral to their children's education.

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Content copyright © 2014 by Paula Laurita. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Paula Laurita. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Christine Sharbrough for details.

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