Cambridge Librarian TeachMeet

Why not collaborate with school librarians to engage schools with special collections?

This was my thought after listening to presentations from school librarians at the Cambridge Librarian TeachMeet. Like teachers, school librarians are switched on to the students needs. They get fully involved in teaching students (particularly in information literacy and study skills). And they appreciate libraries.

I’d be interested to know if any school librarians currently partner public librarians or museum/archive education officers to deliver teaching. Perhaps someone even works with a special collections librarian?

Cambridge Librarians TeachMeet2 logo

TeachMeets are like special collections libraries, you don’t really appreciate them until you go to one. The second Cambridge Librarians TeachMeet gave me food for thought (and for the stomach). Thanks to the organisers!

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3 Responses to Cambridge Librarian TeachMeet

  1. It was great to hear from you yesterday about what you’re doing! We’ve just entered a Trust with the University of Hertfordshire and I’m really hoping to get their information services team interested in supporting our students. I’m not sure if they have any special collections though, will have to investigate!

    Taking students to see special collections would be wonderful, though I know a lot of school librarians will be put off by the sheer organisational hell that is arranging taking students out of school. I know that nothing’s really the same as seeing items in the flesh, but so you think there’d be scope for exploration of special collections through video links/Skype?

    • rarelysited says:

      I agree with what Katie says – it’s a great idea and it should be tried. Although some libraries may worry about the initial costs of setting it up as well as the logistics.

      I would add, though, that a lot of the positive feedback I have received about visits to special collections in college libraries has picked up on the benefits of visiting the historical buildings and experiencing a higher education environment, as well as meeting all the library staff and seeing the collection in the flesh.

      I do understand how much is involved in taking students out of school and how great it would be to find an alternative. I also think that the best on-site visits have some kind of lead in (perhaps a classroom visit from a librarian or interaction with a related online resource). Video links could also provide this sort of lead in activity to an on-site visit.

  2. Thanks for coming to the TeachMeet, and for standing up to speak at almost no notice at all!

    If there isn’t currently the scope for experiencing special collections remotely, then that’s something that should be developed. I think some (especially small) libraries would see it as a logistical nightmare, even though there are now plenty of institutions that routinely use teleconferencing (including museums as part of their outreach and education work), but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.


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