Born to Read partnerships

The key to advancing early literacy is to create great partnerships with others in your community who are serving families. When we work with other organizations we can achieve greater good with existing resources. 

Here are some tips for developing strong partnerships:

* Just get started. Start with one good partnership and build from there. Potential partners might include your local Women Infant and Children (WIC) office, child care centers, Early Head Start, health clinics, birth and parenting education centers at hospitals, developmental preschool programs, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Programs, teen parent programs, Health and Welfare’s Infant-Toddler Program, food banks, churches, pediatricians, obstetricians, women’s shelters, grocery stores, children’s museums, school districts, home visitation programs, and more.

* Background check. It helps to know as much about your potential partners as you can. Find out what their mission is and what activities they are currently working on before your first meeting. To help your new partners get to know you and your library, preparing a short background sheet you can give them is also beneficial.

* Schedule it. Everyone knows the key to partnerships is good communication. You’ve heard that a hundred times, but it can fall the end of your “to do” list when you have a lot of projects to juggle. If you schedule a small block of time every week to follow up on partnership tasks and communication it won’t fall through the cracks. It takes time to build these relationships and it should be part of your job to do that.

* Come to the table with a good attitude. A willingness to listen and a positive, flexible attitude go a long way.

* Other keys to success include a mutual understanding of the goals of the partnership, buy-in from as many people as possible from the start, and timely follow-through.

* Praise the progress and celebrate your successes!

Every community has at least one organization that is serving families who would benefit from library services. Reach out to them and you can make great things happen.