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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Librarians Reach Out - Let Us Come to You

You expect to find librarians in the library, but would you expect to see your local librarian at the police station? If you thought librarians only work inside a library’s four walls, think again. Community partnerships are a key component of our mission:  to educate, enrich and empower our diverse community. Librarians are always on the lookout for creative partnerships that allow us to bring valuable, new services to our communities.


Staff member Darcee Huber at the Mini NOVA Maker's Faire
Librarians reach out to business owners, seniors and job seekers to tackle the newest trends. Patrick Henry Librarian Deb Smith-Cohen works with members of the Vienna Business Association to help small business leaders learn how specialized market research tools can help them grow. Oakton Library staff, including Pearline Fang, Aliya Parvez and Linda Shankle, partnered with the Lifelong Learning Institute of Northern Virginia to help older adults of all backgrounds and income levels learn to use eBooks and navigate library resources. Staff at Pohick Regional Library serve as “embedded librarians” in resume and interview clinics and English as a Second Language classes, bringing resources and knowledge directly to students in need at the Plum Center. Additionally, staff members Jim Seeley, Robert Harvey, Andrew Pendergrass, Darcee Huber and Lynette Terpak hosted a booth at the Mini NOVA Maker’s Faire, demonstrating how to program a computer to create a piano out of carrots. 


McGruff the Crime Dog
waves to his fans at Lorton Library.
Children’s programs and resources also go on the road. By bringing storytimes to Head Start programs and military communities like the Van Noy Library at Fort Belvoir, librarians help  children who may not be able to attend regular library programs gain valuable early literacy skills. In a partnership with local law enforcement, Lorton librarians brought special programs to a local community center at the West Springfield Police substation. McGruff the Crime Dog even paid a visit to one special storytime! Librarians are ready to connect students with library cards, ESL materials, homework help and other resources at Back to School Nights and other school events. 

A visitor to the Centreville Day Festival
shows off his new book.
Our outreach services include more than programs – we’re there to lend a helping community hand whenever possible. You’ll find librarians twirling book carts in parades and handing out free books to children in community festivals throughout the county. Friends of the Library groups also get involved. When a shortage of supplies at a Lorton food bank coincided with a large donation of paperback books to the library, the Friends of the Lorton Library came to the rescue. The Friends graciously allowed the library to give away the paperbacks in exchange for donations of canned goods for the food bank – a win-win situation.  

Interested in learning more about how your community organization can partner with the library?  Send us an email to learn more - let us come to you!


-Deb Smith-Cohen, Patrick Henry Library & Rebecca Wolff, Centreville Regional Library 

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