Finding Common Core Partners at the Public Library

I had the chance to listen, learn, and share some ideas about the Common Core State Standards, public libraries, and nonfiction at the Massachusetts Library Association Annual Conference last week in Cambridge, MA.

I was honored to meet and join these great people at the panel discussion, The Common Core and Nonfiction:  How Does It All Fit Together? –

- Author Deborah Kops (among her books: The Great Molasses Flood)

- Author Kristine Carlson Asselin (among her books: The Real Story on the Weapons and Battlegrounds of North America)

- Lou Pingatore (of independent booksellers Pingi Bookstore).

Each of us brought our perspectives on what the Common Core may hold for kids and nonfiction.  Kops shared some insights on her writing and research process (and the requisite and valuable trips to her local library), and reflected on the potential for a heightened interest in literary nonfiction.  Asselin explained some things I never knew about work-for-hire nonfiction writing with school library market publishers (read more here), and compared the research behind writing a book about Jennifer Lopez (many transcribed TV/online interviews) and one about Martin Luther King, Jr. (many archival newspapers).  Pingatore described some new nonfiction coming from publishers, including one I’m curious to read about using and contributing to Creative Commons.  I talked about how school librarians are embracing the CCSS as an opportunity to collaborate and lead in the teaching of 21st century skills, inquiry, and reading of complex texts.

The questions and comments from the audience were challenging and well-considered, including concerns about the cost of nonfiction books, the potential to build partnerships across small public library systems to offer more titles for kids, and the need to collaborate with school librarians or classroom teachers, especially in school systems without elementary school libraries (which many librarians in attendance reported were common in their communities).

It was a pleasure to meet the dynamic leaders of the MLA Youth Services Section (YSS) Noelle Boc, Sharon Colvin, and Erin Daly (who lived tweeted the day’s events @mla_yss).

What connections can school librarians foster with public librarians?  Here are a few ideas and resources in this developing Listly.  Please share your ideas in the comments!

Image: Children’s Room public PCs, by Newburyport Public Library on Flickr. Used with a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

–Rebecca Morris


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