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Teaching & Learning at NYPL

New York Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Lynda Kennedy, Director, Teaching & Learning, Literacy and Outreach, lynda_kennedy@nypl.org

Problem Statement

Throughout the New York Public Library system, branches were providing educational outreach and programming, but these efforts depended heavily on individual librarians and methods varied widely from site to site.

Innovation

The New York Public Library created the Division of Teaching & Learning. By harnessing and supporting the growth of the educational energies and potentials of 86 community sites and four research libraries, Teaching & Learning at NYPL is working to become the primary resource for urban teachers and students. A crucial component of the Division is the newly-formed Education Circle, comprised of library staff from across the system whose mission is: to unite staff of the New York Public Library in their work with schools, teachers and students, to share knowledge and best practices and identify areas for growth. We will draw on the strong relationships, ideas and expertise already present among Library staff to strengthen the Library’s role as an education resource and an educational force in NYC and beyond.

The Education Circle has created unified language for describing the services teachers can access through NYPL and has worked to develop a brochure for distribution to educators, templates to help library staff engage local schools, and a web page dedicated to teaching and learning at NYPL (http://teachandlearn.nypl.org). The Education Circle has also begun internal professional development initiatives for Library staff to learn about new instructional technologies, changing school curricula and strategies for supporting literacy development.

Through pooling contacts and resources, NYPL has strengthened its contact with the central Offices of the New York City Department of Education, in particular its Office of Library Services, to offer professional development, meeting spaces, curriculum materials and other supports in tandem with school-based librarians.

Progress

Since creating the Teaching & Learning Division, NYPL has becoming “top of mind” for teachers, school administrators, and the central office of the NYC Department of Education when looking for a partner in education. Among many other examples, NYPL is now being included in several Teaching American History teacher professional development projects; has received “P” credit (NYC DOE sanctioned professional development credit) for its summer teacher institutes; and is working with the Office of Family Engagement to promote learning throughout the day. Through the Educators Circle, Library staff from Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island are beginning to view each other as valuable resources for ideas and materials related to educational outreach.