Events Library

Webinar Wrap Up – Library Transformation: Connecting School & Home

Written by Natalie Gilbert

This morning, Learning Bird hosted a webinar called “Library Transformation: Connecting School and Home”. Presented by Andrea Simmons (@AJSimm) and Carol McGimpsey (@CarolLBnest), they discussed the evolution of libraries and the changing role of librarians, as well as the importance of developing safe and engaging spaces so that teenagers have a place to go after school.

If you missed out on the live session, view the webinar recording below. If you would like to view or download the presentation slides, click here.

If you haven’t got time to view the full recording but would like the inside scoop, check out our top takeaways below:

  • Libraries have become areas for:
    • community gatherings
    • hubs for accessing common tools
    • support for services and infrastructure to support lifelong learning, research, as well as preservation and conservation of our knowledge.
  • The role of librarians has evolved from just helping people find content to::
    • curating information
    • teaching patrons how to find and recognize credible info
    • helping patrons keep up with the constant flow of information they receive.
  • The library has become the real hub for community activities and the bridge for connecting home and school.
  • While teenagers can be difficult to reach, libraries are working to:
    • create a safe and inviting environment for teens
    • create a place for teens to gather
    • create resource areas of materials and content for teens
    • provide unique access to products and services that will draw in teens
  • Other successful programs in reaching teen patrons include:
    • workshops and clubs to unleash creativity (i.e. slam poetry, painting, adult coloring, comic book workshops, and knitting)
    • technology workshops (i.e. blogging, iMovie, video/animation, Minecraft, makerspaces, robotics)
    • lifestyle classes and workshops (i.e. first aid, cooking, teen mom support groups, basics of financial management)
    • gaming (i.e. murder mystery nights, chess clubs, tabletop gaming, video game time)
  • The key to building a successful program for collaboration between home and school comes from involving all parties, including schools (and specifically teachers), parents, students, and library staff.
  • Library learning needs to be:
    • self-directed
    • continuous
    • integrated with class resources
    • auditable
  • Reasons for developing afterschool programs:
    • they improve student performance and reduce juvenile crime
    • students who participate in afterschool programs have higher math scores and better literacy rates than their peers
    • they offer much needed opportunities for extra help, and students often learn stronger study skills than their peers who are not in programs
  • There are several ways in which schools and public libraries can collaborate to bridge the experience and connect communities, including:
    • librarians working with teachers for PD
    • teachers informing librarians
    • providing free access to resources to teachers at local schools
    • planning collaborative programming
    • libraries can also be great resources for parents
  • One of the tools that’s being adopted by libraries for bridging the connection between home and school is Learning Bird. Here are the benefits of using Learning Bird in your library:
    • it is is a great resource for homework help because it differentiates instruction to meet individual learning needs
    • it provides content that supports both advanced and challenged learners at the same time
    • Its content is trusted and vetted by teachers, as well as being aligned to local curriculum and textbooks

Make sure you sign up for your free librarian or teacher Learning Bird account. If you would like to inquire about specific library or classroom pricing, please contact Carol at

About the author

Natalie Gilbert

Natalie has spent the last five years working in both traditional and experiential education settings in Haiti, India, and South Korea. Her background is in journalism and education, and she is currently pursuing her M.A. in Educational Technology. She enjoys running, exploring new neighborhoods, and cooking.

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