Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Library to Home Connection

I love working with middle schoolers, but it seems that staying connected with parents becomes more difficult at this age. Parents want to give their students more responsibility and independence and the students often sabotage parent involvement in order to protect their tween/teen reputation. One of my goals this year is to increase parent communication from the library.
I was inspired by Shannon Miller's beautiful newsletter created on Smore. Since then I have seen several other cute librarian newsletters made on this site including The Unquiet Library, my MLIS buddy Sharon Matney's newsletter for Lake Murray Elementary, and the talented and creative Valerie Byrd Fort at New Providence Elementary.
I plan to share our newsletter on our school Facebook page to keep parents and students updated on library events.

Another initiative I want to continue is Happy Calls. I read about this at the Shelf Consumed blog. I shoot for one positive parent phone call per day or five in one day for the week, but sometimes I'll admit I get busy and miss days. I try to chose students that are not always recognized and rewarded and compliment their reading, behavior and character. I've had lots of positive response from parents and students and it really does not take long.

Our first task in the Level Up Tech Quest is School-Home communication. I would love for you take a look at the page I put together and share some of the ideas with your own faculty or use them in your library. There are lots of good ideas that I've found searching through articles and blogs this summer.

This year I'm going to try for National Board certification. The convincing Tiffany Whitehead encouraged me to go for it with her this year and parent communication is one of the priorities in the porfolio. I'm hoping these efforts will help me with this portion and, most importantly, create a bridge between our library and student homes.

What do you do to connect with parents?


  1. Anytime I see a parent in the hallway at school or at the grocery store I make a point to compliment their child. In the past I have sent home happy grams that were really appreciated. I also used to write notes to parents in the student's agenda. I need to make more calls and set a goal like the one you mention. This is something that can make a huge difference in a child's life. Good luck on National Board. You can do it!

  2. I love the newsletter. Smore is a site I was not familiar with, but I can see uses not only for the library, but also for our yearbook, athletic booster club, and other school groups. Thank you for sharing!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thank you for the mention, friend! This will be the first year that I am sharing my newsletter so widely. In the past, I have only emailed it out and printed out a few, it was mostly read by teachers. This year, I hope to get parents reading it via Smore (which I LOVE!).
    I also have a Facebook page for my library (, which seems to be a great way to get information to parents.
    Good luck on National Boards! Just schedule time on your calendar to work on it (like you would do with anything else) and you'll get it done

  5. Do you do anything at the start of the school year to support the teacher-librarian and teacher connection?

    1. I have presented for the last few years to the induction teachers in our district about working and collaborating with their librarian. I also go after the new teachers in my own school and check in on them and help them as much as I can to build that relationship. For the returning teachers I make sure I share books, articles, tech tools that might help them teach their subject and get off to a good start to the year.

  6. I use to make phone calls or send notes home in agendas as a teacher. This is a great idea that I will try out.

  7. Love your idea Tamara. As I am in a rural setting with students who have limited tech at home (including working 'home' phones - parents rarely provide a cell number) calling home is not an option for me. Neither is relying on my library's website. I do send home notes/cards with students and/or mailed home. Students and parents appreciate these notes - nice change to get positive news!

  8. UAE is giving a lot of emphasis to science and technology and arranging different training programs aiming to teach students to work in teams and develop their soft-skills. One of such programs is TECH QUEST where more than 181 UAE national students will participate and I hope it will help the students to become more analytical and critical in solving science problems as science and technology are considered to be pioneers for tomorrow.