June 3rd, 2020

Leverage the State Public Library System

Cut costs and create efficiencies across the education system by leveraging the public library system, and reallocate education funding to implement SEL programs and support. Work at the county level to align county offices of education with county public library systems across the state to share resources and eliminate duplication of expenses and resources.

For example, every county public library system pays for (or receives access to through the state library) numerous online databases, e-books & resources, as well as people-driven online services (such as free homework tutoring) that are free to students and educators across the county with a library card. For schools and districts to also purchase and maintain these resources is unnecessary.

Districts could also partner with public libraries to form agreements to operate libraries on campus in their schools to share resources, materials, equipment, spaces, and staffing, increasing access to materials and services while greatly reducing costs. Connecting students to the community library as a vital community hub could encourage and foster SEL. This could be especially impactful for special education students and their families.

Districts could also partner with public libraries to implement SEL programs for students and their families that provide critical wraparound services in addition to literacy and education programs. At the county level, county offices of education can establish partnerships with county library systems to provide students of all ages with literacy and reading programs, such as the popular summer reading programs that prevent the summer slide while also bringing in experts to provide SEL support such as through social and mental health services.

Also connect county public library systems' adult and family literacy programs to Adult Education to serve as a starting point and support. Share resources and funding to prevent duplication, reach more people, and streamline processes. Establish agreements to provide technical training programs in shared public library facilities within the community to enhance outreach and reduce costs.

Districts operating schools in detention facilities could establish agreements with public library systems to provide library services and/or literacy tutoring and support.

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