I recently wrote a research paper that addressed this topic, but I wanted to write something a little shorter that highlights what other libraries have done.
When I was growing up, my middle school and high school were right across the street from each other, which made a lot of things handy, including easy access to the pool and high school football games when you’re still in middle school. Additionally, my high school doubled as a community center, and the library was connected to the Multnomah County Library. Basically, the best parts of this for me were that a) the library was open during the summer months, and b) I could request items from all over the county and have them delivered to the library at the high school. After a few years, the recession began and this type of partnership between the public library and my school ended. However, because partnerships between these two agencies are still (and always) necessary, Multnomah County Library is now providing School Corps, which provides a variety of free outreach services to K-12 students in Multnomah County.
Many other libraries and schools have created a sort of satellite branch partnership, as well. The Northern Tier Regional Library in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, has a satellite branch inside the Pine Richland High School Library. The Aurora Public Library just outside of Chicago has been looking to put kiosks inside the local schools. Portland Public Library in Maine used to have satellite branches in schools that were “a longtime money-saving target.”
While this type of partnership is a huge risk for all parties involved, it can be a way for public libraries to further extend their resources and services to students and teachers while possibly saving money for the library, school, and community. While we’re still struggling in this economy, it may be something to consider.