A Guest Post by Melissa Ballard (Afterschool Alliance)

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with STAR Net, has a new report showing how afterschool programs and libraries are working together to support youth and families in their communities. In early 2017, we surveyed 365 afterschool programs to learn if and how they are working with their local public libraries, and what challenges they face.

What did we find?
Nearly three-quarters of afterschool programs had partnered with their local library in the past, and close to 100 percent of programs said that they saw a benefit in partnering with their local library. Most afterschool programs working with a public library, worked together in multiple ways including summer reading or learning initiatives, taking their students to the library to check out books and use computers, STEM activities, and special or evening events for families.

Our report also showed that not all afterschool programs and libraries have been able to establish such strong partnerships. Many reported challenges such as scheduling logistics, transportation, and communication. While some of these obstacles are difficult to overcome, our report also highlights some easy recommendations that can help start, maintain, and grow partnerships between libraries and afterschool programs.

Read the report for more information, ideas, and recommendations for library-afterschool partnerships, and keep an eye out for a forthcoming STEM partnership toolkit in 2018!