Classroom Perspectives, Reading and Literacy, Special Education

Collaborating in a School With No Library

Collaborating in a School With No Library

Originally published in TEACH Magazine, March/April 2019 Issue

By Lisa Gay-Milliken

Do you remember the first time you entered the school library as a child? I do. There were books everywhere. The librarian told me that I could borrow any of the books and take them home. Amazing! This excitement continued throughout the years. I couldn’t wait for book fairs. I joined the audio-visual club. I still was able to check out as many books as I wanted.

Fast-forward 16 years later. I accepted my first teaching position. I was a special education teacher in a public high school and there was a beautiful school library. The librarian, Cleo, was remarkable. I fondly remember her creating a special bookshelf for my students who were significantly challenged, to assist them in finding books easily. It was a rewarding 15 years with Cleo; therefore, I assumed that all students and teachers have similar experiences. Unfortunately, I was wrong. There is no library in my current school.

Today, I work in a private day school in Virginia. Special education students who are not successful in their home school, due to challenging behaviors, come to us by way of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team decision. The students are still “owned” by the public school yet are unwanted in regular schools.

In private, specialized day schools, we open the door to academic success by focusing on new ways of interacting with students and teachers. The challenge is to make learning fun again while acquiring the skills to deal with any behavior that holds students back from attending a public school. The ultimate goal is always to get the student back to their home school as soon as possible.

We are constantly communicating and collaborating with the public school special education teachers and case managers. The funding is limited in a private day school, which is why there are no libraries in our school buildings. We have a room with some books that have been donated by the local Moose Lodge and Ruritan club (local organizations that do charity work), but that it is not enough. Private day school students need and deserve a library as much as their peers. So, why are we not using the public school library and collaborating with the librarian?

Barriers to Collaboration

Recently, I went back to school to earn my school librarian endorsement; therefore, the topic of collaboration resurfaced for me. I found myself seriously considering the reason for this forgotten private-public collaboration with a public school librarian. Some potential barriers:

  • Travel time could certainly be a problem. A private day school is in a separate building. The school accepts students from surrounding cities and counties. Several students are on the school bus for well over an hour.
  • Whether it is the public school librarian traveling to the private school or the students being transported to the public school, transportation could be costly.
  • The students in the school may have challenging behaviors. Perhaps these behaviors are remembered and there is a reluctance to allow the student back in the school library?
  • School administration is not supportive of the collaboration.
  • Lack of technology to support virtual collaboration.

Breaking Through the Barriers

Regardless of the reason, it is a forgotten collaboration for school librarians. It might represent an opportunity that most librarians do not even know exists. Libraries make learning fun! Reluctant students need learning to be fun. The students in private, day, specialized education facilities are all reluctant learners and will certainly benefit from collaboration between special education teachers and the public school librarian. Here are some ideas to help get the conversation started:

  • Run a brief training session for private day educators on how to access and use the public school’s online library catalog. Get permission for students to access it just as they would if they were attending the public school.
  • Become a traveling librarian. Collaborate with the private day educator. Load a bunch of books, related to the students’ interests, on a cart and take them to the private school for students to check out.
  • Curate various e-books and teach the private day teachers/students how to access them.
  • Invite the private day students to your makerspace, your book fair, or any event that you have for general education students.
  • Collaborate with private day teachers as you would with the public school teachers. Ask your principal for permission to visit the private school to co-teach a lesson with one of the teachers.
  • Create a pathfinder for the private day teacher. For example, a teacher may have a 4th grade student in the elementary classroom. Create a 4th grade pathfinder (a collection of information sources to help students begin their research) about weather for the science SOLs and send the link to them.
  • Skype in so the class can see you on the interactive whiteboard and lead a literature circle discussion about a book they’ve read.
  • Private day teachers work with the public library in the community to offer benefits to students similar to the school library.

Time remains a challenge for all librarians. Adding more teachers and students who are not located on the school campus might seem to be too much. But it is important to remember these students will be returning to the public school and to your library. Why not work hard now to build positive relationships with them? The benefits will go a long, long way.


Lisa Gay-Milliken taught high school special education in Bridgewater, Virginia for 16 years. Currently, she is an administrator in a private day school for students with disabilities and a graduate student in the School Library Program at Old Dominion University. She has a B.A. in Special Education and an M.Ed. in Special Education and Education Administration.

abs cut diet pills weight loss with cayenne pills free alli diet pills insulin hormone and weight loss pills acai berry cleanse diet pills jitters from diet pills shark tank keto pills free trial slim xtreme gold pills weight loss pills with sibutramine atkins diet diabetes pills autoship weight loss pills fda approved weight loss pills amazon loss weight with papaya enzyme and garlic pills what happens if you overdose on diet pills weight loss pills for men in there 30s top 10 diet pills for men can diet pills cause nerve damage instagram diet pills best diet pills that celebrities use qsymia diet pills and birth control weight loss supplements keto nu diet pills best keto weight loss pills 2021 buy diet pills from subutramine

how to make easy christmas pop up cards dog pop up cards chridtmas pop up cards make an pop up easter card printable diy christmas tree pop up cards lawn fawn pivot pop up card ideas 3d pop out cards diy where to get happy mother day pop up card christmas pop up card magical snowman 3 popup cards tutorials pdf pop up pokemon christmas card buy pop up flowers pop up card diy sheep birthday card pop up diy how to make a pop up card baloons template pop up card walmart gift card pw pop up diy pop up baby shower cards diy pop up flower bouquet walmart pop up mothers day card birthday gift cards tree pop up card hallmark greeting cards stores pop up cards for older kids

edge 8 male enhancement pills vigour male ed pills gel pills for ed do penis pills actuallywork the best herbal ed pills rhino male enhancement pills work ed pills porn stars use enhance pills penis enlargement tablets dc walmart ed meds pills to take to gain a larger penis side affects of sex pills hot rod penis pills big red pills for blood flow to the penis all weekend supplement get paid for male enhancement pills testing nitric oxide supplements cvs viagra erection pills sex pills how to sell them rhino 9000 male enhancement pills review do birth control pills affect sex drive free xl ed pills only pay shipping testosterone pills libido and sex strive best sex pills 15 days

cbd gummies 60 mg best cbd oil for shingles cbd gummies nightime melatonin cbd gummies pineapple coconut cbd gummies cbd gummies in oakdale mn cbd gummies near altoona pa what do you feel from cbd gummies just cbd gummies good for pets is cbd good for sleep best rated cbd gummies for sleeping lord john cbd gummies cbd gummies bluebird botanicals cbd gummies and alzheimer s cbd living gummies bag 100mg cbd gummies pop on drug test does cbd gummies make ur dick hard smart life cbd gummies full spectrum is cbd oil good for high blood pressure cbd gummies and children green roads cbd for sale legality of cbd gummies cbd for pinched nerve cbd people also search for