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Answering the Crisis, Public Libraries Collaborate with Schools, Other Organizations to Serve Communities | SLJ COVID-19 Survey

More than half of public librarians have collaborated with local school systems and teachers since the closures to provide digital and online services for children and teens, according to SLJ's Youth Services in Public Libraries COVID-19 Response Survey. And nearly 33 percent have collaborated with local agencies toward the same goal.

It takes a village, especially in crisis and many public librarians are collaborating with schools and other organizations to meet the needs of their young patrons, according to SLJ's Youth Services in Public Libraries COVID-19 Response Survey.

More than half of respondents (52.9 percent) have collaborated with local school systems and teachers since the closures to provide digital and online services for children and teens.

"We have provided digital books, references, and links to help with homework, informative, entertainment, reading, and other needs," said one respondent to the survey, which was conducted from April 23 to May 5 and received responses from 570 public librarians.

Read: Public Librarians Are Working, Making Plans While Facing an Unknown Future | SLJ COVID-19 Survey

Much like with school librarians, their public counterparts have had to find the balance between informing local educators without overwhelming them with available resources.

"Teachers are currently focused on providing curriculum materials for their students," wrote one respondent. "I don't want to overburden the teachers."

But partnerships go beyond local school districts and government agencies (32. 8 percent). They are partnering with library vendors (29.6 percent) and local businesses (15.4 percent). Libraries are also collaborating with established partners such as their state libraries, the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, food banks, mental health organizations, and local nonprofits that serve families and starting new collaborations. One respondent said the library has worked with local access TV to create analog streaming capabilities of its programs, another is beginning partnerships with "local grassroots organizations that have developed in lockdown." And they are tapping local resources. For example, one respondent reported getting professionals from within the community to do virtual career days, others have worked local authors to create video story times and other online content.

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