WebJunction to Mentor 10 School Libraries for New IMLS Initiative
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has announced OCLC’s WebJunction as Mentor Organization for a cohort of 10 small, rural U.S. school libraries that are participating in their Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries (APP) initiative.
As mentors, WebJunction will support the cohort over two years with a facilitated community of practice, three in-person convenings, training and technical assistance, and program evaluation activities as the grantees transform their school library’s practice to better serve their communities. Individual grantee projects will redesign their libraries for 21st-century learning, advancing staff skills, strengthening partnerships with stakeholders, and enhancing programs and services that will prepare their students for success.
The school library grantees in WebJunction’s mentor cohort are:
- Aurora Public School East Side District #131, Aurora, Illinois
- Hillsboro-Deering School District, Hillsborough, New Hampshire
- Fort Benton Schools School District 1, Benton, Montana
- Freedom Public School, Freedom, Oklahoma
- Laurens County School District 55, Laurens, South Carolina
- Milford Central School District, Milford, New York
- Orleans Central Supervisory Union, Barton, Vermont
- Osage Hills Public School District (Osage County Interlocal Cooperative), Bartlesville, Oklahoma
- Regional School Unit 63, Holden, Maine
- Worcester County Public Schools (Board of Education of Worcester County), Newark, Maryland
WebJunction is one of three mentor organizations selected to support this IMLS initiative; Wisconsin Library Services and Kansas City Public Library are also serving as mentor organizations in separate grant categories.
Building Community, Capacity, and Confidence
In many schools, and especially those in small communities, a single librarian is staffing the school library and is without the peer support that classroom teachers often have. The APP initiative will facilitate library staff peer and mentor support to instill the competencies, capacities, and confidence that librarians in small and rural communities need to achieve transformational outcomes at their schools.
The APP Mentorship program is also supporting librarians in building partnerships across their schools and communities. School librarians are well positioned to partner with classroom teachers and administrators to transform the school library into a dynamic hub where students can develop critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration skills through active and connected learning. By involving community members and community-based organizations in the library’s transformation and programming, librarians can bolster the local support needed to sustain the school library and its staff as essential and inclusive student resources.
Goals of the Mentorship
WebJunction is using a discovery process to “meet grantees where they are” and support both individual and cohort needs as they strengthen the role of their libraries as dynamic learning centers and enhance programs and services to prepare students for success.
After completing the APP program in August 2021, the school library grantees mentored by WebJunction will:
- Have increased their knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to position their school libraries as centers for self-directed, inquiry-based learnings and forge instructional partnerships between school library professionals and classroom teachers
- Have implemented a project that responds to the educational needs of their community
- Have gained experience in administering and managing a federal grant-funded project
- Be better able to engage people in collaborative partnerships and respond to evolving organization and community needs
WebJunction will continue to share resources, stories, and outputs developed through APP grantee activities that will be useful to school libraries at large. Subscribe to our twice-monthly e-newsletter, Crossroads, to access the latest information about the transforming school libraries initiative.
OCLC’s WebJunction will lead 10 school library grantees in a transforming school library practice mentorship program as part of the Institute of Museum and Library Services Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries (APP) Initiative. The APP Transforming School Library Practice Mentorship Program is made possible by support from OCLC and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (project number LG-00-19-0289-19).