I was presenting in Northern Illinois a few years back. After my session I was approached by a librarian who was so excited to meet me and to hear about the i-Pathways Project. We stood and talked for about 10 minutes after my distance learning info session. It was one of the best after-session conversations I have had. She planted the seed of an idea in my head. I brought that seed back and discussed it with Kathy Tracey, i-Pathways Project Coordinator, and David Baker, Associate Director of AEFL Professional Development. I knew I needed some help deciding how to use what I gained from the conversation with the librarian.
The librarian shared that she had always wanted to partner with the adult ed programs that her library served, but that she did not know how to get that going. She felt that i-Pathways might be a way a partnership could be formed. In my discussion with David and Kathy, we planned some professional development offerings for Illinois State Librarians. We had a 3 tiered goal with the PD.
Goal Tier 1: Educate the Librarians on i-Pathways and how they can work with adult education programs to support their use of i-Pathways.
Goal Tier 2: Connect Adult Education points of contact with their local librarians to provide time for brainstorming and planning regarding how libraries can work to support adult education programs online learning and overall efforts.
Goal Tier 3: Put together a training outline that could be replicated on the local level so interested adult ed programs could do the training with their potential library partners.
In the end we worked with the Secretary of States Literacy Office Coordinator, Cyndy Colletti, to train 70+ librarians from around the state and connected them to their local adult ed programs for brainstorming sessions on how they could better work together and also how i-Pathways fit into how they could work together.
Our training outcomes were impressive. Libraries around the state of IL put direct links to the i-Pathways website on the desktops of the library computers. Many libraries extended the time that students could be on the computers from the normal patron time of 30 minutes to (sometimes as long as) unlimited time if a student was working on i-Pathways work. Libraries started putting adult ed promotional materials at their book checkout counters and many more began putting adult ed promotional materials in the front of all the GED books they had available for check out. So those students going in to the libraries looking to do self-study to prepare for the GED Test became aware through a flier, at the front of their checked out book, of the adult ed program’s contact information and of i-Pathways as an online learning option they could use through their local adult ed program. Also several adult ed programs across the state replicated the training (that was done statewide) at the local level to continue to build the library partnerships. Libraries also did some adult ed evening events. The community was invited to see a brief presentation on the adult ed program and find out about i-Pathways and how to prepare online for the GED Test. We were thrilled about the outcomes and how enthusiastic the local libraries were about having the start of a great partnership with their area adult ed provider(s).
If you are looking for more ideas about working with your local libraries, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Crystal Hack, i-Pathways Project Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are many other ideas and sample materials the came as a result of this outreach.
Have a great day!