TMC7 Agar


A Reflection of the Collaborative Working Relationship of a School and Public Library 

by Sarah Agar

What are the strengths and challenges of a shared space in a school and community library?  This paper will discuss the collaborative relationship between Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School (NPSS) and the Essa Public Library – Angus Branch (EPL) over the past five years, through the lens of the teacher-librarian. The demographics of the community and strengths and challenges of the Joint-Use Agreement between the school and public library are reviewed. The two entities collaborate daily and share resources. Suggestions for next steps for improvement of the Joint-Use Agreement from the teacher-librarian lens will be offered.

Sarah Agar brings a myriad of perspectives to Ontario’s Simcoe County District School Board. She grew up on a small family farm in rural Southwestern Ontario before landing in the City of Barrie for her teaching career. As a physics and teacher-librarian specialist, Sarah offers wide-ranging points of view and encourages interdisciplinary learning in the library. Sarah has taught combinations of science, math, physics, library and literacy for 15 years. She is passionate about supporting her colleagues and students with a focus on diversity and inclusion. Sarah enjoys learning so that she can share the most up-to-date information with her colleagues. Like the quote, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” Sarah believes that if a teacher-librarian can impart their knowledge and skills to colleagues, her colleagues will become more confident in their own skills and share them with others for all to grow.

Read the paper.


  1. This is such an interesting concept. Do you find that it generally works on a day-to-day basis? For example, I know that I tolerate a lot more noise in my LLC that our local public libraries allow. Has there been any impact on circulation stats? Are students signing books out more because they have greater access? Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Sarah, congratulations on producing such a timely paper. The Joint-Use-Agreement seems like it is such an important document that guides this special relationship. It's interesting to hear how the staff on the school side seems to change more frequently than the staff on the public library side. What does collection development look like in a shared space such as this? Do you purchase in collaboration with the public librarians? In this age of physical security breaches (in addition to privacy security breaches), I wonder if there's ever been any issues related to disruptive members of the public entering the school via the library (or vice versa - students disrupting the public library space) - when you have a school-wide lockdown, how does that work? There's a school in my board that shares the space with another school board - I'd love to see how their experience is similar or different to yours. Thanks for sharing your paper (and I hope to see you at OLA SC 2023!)
    Diana M

  3. So many papers for TM emphasize the turnover in teacher librarians. This seems like a major problem. Why?
    It would seem that the TL would have much more time to coteach. If that is true, then the benefits could be incredible. Seems like a dream job to me. Talk to us more about this at TM.

  4. Hi Sarah,
    This is a fascinating discussion as we have several very small high schools < 200 students with public libraries in close proximity but not actually in the schools. Those public library spaces are faced with aging infrastructure and this might be a reasonable way forward, but it is not without pitfalls as you noted. Definitely will help us as we navigate these partnerships moving forward. I am working with one TL in McBride, BC where they have 70 high schoolers, and that TL collaborates a lot with the public library as she gets just half a day library time all year, which is not a lot to build skills. I forwarded this paper to her as we begin this discussion around how do we, with our limited funding, help bridge that gap between our public and school TLs in a rural community.


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