BOCES receives library grant
The Genesee Valley BOCES (GV BOCES) School Library System has been awarded a National Leadership Grant for Libraries in the area of a National Forum in response to the need to identify recommendations for effective post-COVID school library programs. This $150,000 grant will fund four virtual national forums on the future of school libraries. Given the high level of complexity, national scope, and emergent nature of the investigation, a collective impact approach will be used to gather together diverse viewpoints from across the country. Topics will include an instructional design for remote librarianship, emerging services for teaching and learning, defining the role of the school librarian, and program considerations for new learning models. Reports generated from these forums will provide actionable recommendations for school librarians across the country.
Christopher Harris, Ed.D., Director of the GV BOCES School Library System, wrote and submitted that grant and will serve as the project coordinator. Patrick Whipple, Ph.D., Director of GV BOCES Professional Learning Services, will lead the grant evaluation.
“What we want to do is take a hard look at what the pandemic brought to school libraries and really figure out what worked,” Dr. Harris explained. “We are leading this national effort to bring together thousands of school librarians from across the country to plan out how we are going to move forward to meet student needs in this new future.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, school libraries across the country made changes to procedures, spaces, and instructional practices out of necessity. Across the many models of in-person, hybrid, and remote instruction adopted by districts around the country, there were even more models for school librarians and the services they provide. It is essential that we take time after the immediate pressure of the pandemic emergency to reflect, understand, and evaluate those modified practices. The need for investigation is especially critical in those communities where school library programs were already at-risk prior to the emergency.
“The grant project is called 'Libraries Today,' ” Dr. Harris noted. “We are looking at where we are today and where we want to be moving forward. This grant will give us a chance to guide the national policy discussion around school libraries.”
The first work in the grant project will be the convening of a national advisory panel. Advisory panel members will include the School Library System directors from New York City and Erie 1 BOCES, as well as, directors from Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools, Norman (OK) Public Schools, the past president of the American Association of School Librarians, and others.