Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Public Library and Public School Connections

At the Department of Public Instruction, we are aware of Wisconsin public libraries’ purposeful efforts to respond to the needs of communities, especially in regard to youth and literacy. With the start of the 2015-16 school year, the Public Library Development Team would like to introduce you to a new interactive resource designed to increase awareness of local demographic and academic factors that play a role in your library’s services, collections, programs, and outreach.

Screenshot of the Public Library and  School District Services Map
Screenshot of the map
Through a cross-division effort, we have developed a resource that helps to identify particular variables at play in local and neighboring school districts. This interactive map is designed to help libraries make stronger connections with public school students, families, and educators. By seeing the data for yourself, we hope that you feel empowered to serve your community proactively and deliberately.  Use this map and the data dashboard it draws from to directly support your library’s mission.

Read the map instructions.
Build stronger connections through these suggested action steps:

1.   Examine the two data fields related to 3rd grade reading scores. How do the percentages for your local school district compare to others in your library system? In the rest of the state?
Email your local school district administrator(s) to discuss how your library might support school-year and summer reading needs.

2.   Examine the data field for percent economically disadvantaged. How does this percentage for your local school district compare to others in your library system? In the rest of the state?
Review your policies and services and consider how they encourage/discourage families with limited means to participate in the library community.

3.   Examine the multiple demographic data fields. How do the percentages for your local school district compare to others in your library system? In the rest of the state?
Examine the programs, collections, and services offered to youth. Are the demographics of your community AND the rest of the state reflected in your library? Consider ways that your library can be demonstrably inclusive to learners and families of all kinds.

Notes:
  • Secondary School District boundaries are used on this map (vs. Elementary School District boundaries) because they are prone to change less frequently.  
  • For the most current School District Administrator name and contact information, consult the District Website.


To further explore data, visit the WISEdash public portal. For a brief WISEdash overview, see the support videos or view the “Using WISEdash to Understand Young Patrons as Students” webinar recording. The Division for Libraries and Technology is here to support your data-focused conversations with library staff, trustees, and community partners.

Best wishes for an informed start to the PK-12 school year!

Written by:
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Development Team