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Partnering with a high school is not easy work, but when others are willing to share their journey it helps. This is Monterey Public Library's process for 21st Century Skills collaboration with Monterey High School as told by teen librarian Eboni Harris.
Last Updated: Dec 4, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Monterey Public Library


The Monterey Public Library is the largest public library on the Monterey Peninsula, with an extensive collection of books, magazines, newspapers, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, Web services, microforms and unique historical collections. (


Meet the Students

Monterey High School is the only public high school in a city of 30,000. Most of the 1300 students that attend live in Monterey and neighboring Seaside and Marina.  The school is less than half a mile away. Many students are frequent visitors of the Library and have library cards.  The frequent flyers, who are always pleased to see a librarian outside of the library, can be used to your advantage.  They are very good classroom helpers and can encourage their classmates to offer you more respect. Make sure to acknowledge the students you recognize inside and outside of the library.  


Library Orientations

Library orientations are fun.  You get to invite the kids to your "house", show them around and teach them about the different sections and services.  It is always amusing when the students who are regular patrons learn "what those things" are actually for.  (If possible, try to schedule orientations during times the library is closed to the public).

  • Tour: take the students to the areas they will find most interesting or useful first (Teen section, juvenile section, help desk, self check-out, the areas where they can eat, the library store).  Lastly, show them microfilm, periodicals, children's section, and the restrooms)
  • Orientation: Attention grabber (mine is usually this), an introduction the library website, show them catalog and databases and do searches for grisly or funny things, talk up services and teen programs, talk about library cards and how easy they are to get, and then play a quizz game with them. (I usually use a Jeopardy template and break them into teams)
  • Pass out a library hand-out at the end when the students are ready to leave, or give the hand-outs to the teacher for them to pass out whent he students get back to school. (This way the kids aren't distracted during the presentation and you will find less of these hand-outs forgotten about on the floor) 


How did the Students Fare?

The students, for the most part, paid attention; however, before the presentations I would ask them if they liked free food?  I let them know that at the end of the presentation, we were going to play a game to see how well they paid attention to me.  This got the kids going.  At the end of the presentation, we played Jeopardy which included categories that coved each topic I talked about.  The class broke into four teams and were allowed to answer collectively.  

I found is that there was always at least one kid on each team who paid enough attention to know how to FIND the answers the team didn't know by looking at the resources I provided.  The team would scramble for the right answer in order to beat the other teams and learn as a group how to conduct research using library sources and not just Bing and Google.  At the end of each session, students seemed happier, more competent with the material presented, and genuinely friendlier.  They would come and introduce themselves or ask me questions.  They became more receptive to announcements about library services and programs.  Many more became library patrons. They make it a point to wave at me when they see me.

Overall, visitng the school and doing the presentations is a positive experience that helps build a relationship bewteen the Teen Librarian, the students, and the teachers.  


The Collaboration

What does it mean to use 21st Century Skills in the classroom?

 And how can a partnership with a library strengthen this?


Planning with School Administrators

The library team, which included the Teen Librarian, Eboni Harris (me), the Library Manager, Inga Waite, and a Reference Librarian, Kim Smith, met with Principal Marcie Plumber to discuss 21st Century Skills' Seminars' student goals for the year and the schedules of the teachers involved:

  •  Monterey Public High School has students select a career pathway to follow upon entering the school.  Students take courses that will help them learn about and train for the jobforce.  The 21st Century Skills Seminar is designed to help Monterey High School students get into the mindset of focusing on a career path.  
  • The teachers of 21st Century Skills Seminar classes have projects specific to their own individual classes and very different schedules, so each class would need individual teaching sessions with the teen librarian.
  • Each class would need a time to be able to come to the library and receive an orientation
  • Each student is required (by the Principal) to have an active library card to ensure the best access to academic resources 



Spending the Grant Money

LSTA funds stretch a long way.  Some may wonder what to spend it on and worry that there might be leftovers.  So many teaching tools can be found for free online, but there are other things you'll need for a successful partnership.  Here's a list of what you'll definitely need.

  • Funds to pay for on-call staff to cover the service desk while your Teen Librarian is at the high school, doing library orientations, or taking time off the desk to prepare for presentations.
  • Funds for printing.  Students and teachers LOVE hand-outs.
  • Funds for simple supplies (for presentation purposes)

I did have remaining money, and spoke to our LSTA grant liaison about how to best spend the funds. (Do not be afraid to call and ask for suggestions or assistance.)  After talking with the liaison, I thought about what materials would best suit the needs of the students and teachers.  I was able to spend the last of the funds on

  • Collection development.  (The library needed more books in its collection to support the 21st Century Skills curriculum)


Future of 21st Century Collaborations

Monterey Public Library and Monterey High School will continue to collaborate.  At the beginning of the school year, teachers started to get in contact with me to set up libguides, classroom visits and library tours and orientations.  We also hope to work with teachers who teach other courses.  A continued relationship we have is with a Ceramics teacher who has a yearly research project and always invites a librarian to his classes for the day to give research instruction.


21st Century Skills Brochure

Here is a brochure I created to help educate future students and parents about the 21st Century Skills Seminar collaboration between Monterey High School and Monterey Public Library.  These brochures will be handed out during New Student Registration at the end of July.  The library has a booth each year where we present library resources to students and parents and offer students a chance to obtain a library card if they don't already have one.

Further Resources


    Monterey Public High School

    Monterey High School strives to graduate responsible, independent, and productive citizens with strong critical thinking and academic skills by providing a rigorous, comprehensive curriculum in partnership with community, family, and a competent staff in a safe and caring environment. (


    Meet the Faculty

    The principal sent out an e-mail to all of the teachers involved with 21st Century, forwarding my e-mail address to them.  One by one, the teachers contacted me exchanging introductions and discussing schedules and projects for their classes.

    • It was difficult to coordinate so many schedules.  Classes met at different times, so a big group library orientation was not possible.  
    • The teachers were very busy with other projects. Finding the time to schedule library orientations and class sessions was a challenge.


    Lesson Planning

    Each class had its own research assignment.  I worked with three teachers, so I created three different resource guides and presentations for classroom visits.  


    Teacher Reception

    An ultimate understatement: Teachers are busy people.  I know it is an understatement because I was once a teacher.  There is barely enough time to get through your own lesson plan much less coordinate with outside agencies.  Matching schedules with teachers is not always an easy task, and sometimes it takes a lot of effort.  I actually started with the library later in the school year, so this made it harder to touch base with all of the teachers.  However, the teachers appointed a "spokes-person" and that teacher tried to set-up class visits and orientations for the entire team by forwarding e-mail conversations.  I was able to visit several classes and had several classes come to visit the library.  

    I let each participating teacher know that I was there to support them and asked them what they needed from me to make their lives easier when it came to completeing their projects.  Also, when I was at the high school, I took the time to network and speak to multiple teachers about library resource and programs.  As a result, several teachers not a part of 21st Century Skills project began promoting library resources and wondering if I could come and visit their classes to teach about information literacy.  

    Overall, I believe the teachers are pleased with library services and we are ready to start planning for next year!

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