This month I have a challenge for you and for me. I challenge each of us to reach out to someone at another library. You get bonus points if you reach out to someone at a different type of library. The goal is simply to start building a relationship. Have a conversation about your common goals and think about what you can do together.
I'm issuing this challenge after attending two recent events that were all about collaboration: the MLA Annual Conference two weeks ago and the 2015 Mahoney Workshop on Collaboration and Student Achievement this week.
The Mahoney Workshop, a pre-conference associated with the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME) annual conference, was all about school, public and academic collaboration. Michigan Library Association was a sponsor, along with Library of Michigan, MAME, Midwest Collaborative for Library Services, Cooperative Directors Association, Michigan Academic Library Association and Library of Michigan Foundation.
At each event, I met new colleagues and reconnected with people I already know. I jotted down ideas and started framing possibilities. As I reflect on the MLA conference and the Mahoney Workshop, I am left with a clear picture of great potential for collaborative relationships. We can work together to support students as they transition from high school to college to career. We can create digital resources that benefit our communities. We can help our local businesses have an information literate workforce.
If you don't know who to contact, I encourage you to check a resource that I learned about at the Mahoney Workshop. ALA's Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) has a tool to connect people who want to support high school to college transitions. (http://www.ala.org/lirt/connecting-librarians-high-school-college-transition). I look forward to hearing the results when you present at next year's MLA Annual Conference.
Regardless of the scope or its ultimate impact, all successful projects start the same way -- with relationships. So, once again, I challenge you to reach out to someone new.