The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) had the honor of moderating a very successful panel of public library leaders and GLR coalition leaders during GLR Week in Denver titled, "Public Sector Partners: Schools and Libraries." Thank you to Roanoke, Ames and Denver Public Libraries and to the Baltimore Campaign leadership for the excellent discussion of library-school-community partnerships that advance grade-level reading achievement!

ULC is now excited to share a new resource on this topic: Public Partners for Early Literacy: Library-School Partnerships Closing Opportunity Gaps.


  • Knowing that the lack of grade-level reading proficiency is a major crisis, especially for low-income students - ULC initiated a partnership with the Council of the Great City Schools, with funding support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to explore library roles in expanding access to educational opportunities for low-income K-3rd grade students. The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading also served as a strategic adviser.
  • First a field scan was conducted to identify promising programs, effective library-school partnerships, and challenges in reaching and engaging low-income K-3rd grade students. Next, a diverse group of expert thought leaders representing public school systems, public libraries, and community education organizations convened in Washington, DC to share perspectives on a range of issues related to the topic. From the discussion and the field scan, this new publication was produced.

What's included:

  • This call-to-action publication calls upon leaders of public library systems and school systems to strategically, proactively and thoughtfully work together to expand access to library literacy resources that increase the chances of more low-income K-3rd graders becoming proficient readers
  • Specifically, this practical and user-friendly publication includes:
    • 6 ways that libraries are supporting improved reading proficiency: 1) providing summer learning opportunities, 2) supporting family learning, 3) bringing books and learning resources to community locations, 4) delivering personalized learning, 5) nurturing a love of reading and 6) serving as an essential community convener
    • Tips on building successful partnerships based on the work of this initiative and the Leaders Library Card Challenge as well as spotlights on successful library-school partnerships.
    • 5 strategies for libraries and schools to reach and serve more low-income K-3rd graders to improve their reading achievement.
    • Recommendations for further research and action, including developing a strategic guide for building sustainable partnerships and more.

Please share the link to this important resource with your networks so that they may gain tips and strategies for how to build library-school partnerships in their communities and better understand the leading role of public libraries in advancing grade-level reading achievement.

For questions about Public Partners for Early Literacyplease contact ULC's Director of Education and Learning Initiatives, Emily Samose.

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As the Director of Education and Learning Initiatives, Emily is focused on identifying, advancing and promoting the ways in which public libraries are essential education institutions. Emily has over 20 years of experience leading education and youth development projects in the consulting, federal government, higher education and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining ULC, she served as a consultant for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

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