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SWON News: The Low Down

What if You Wrote the Questions?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
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  • For this one-hour webinar with a library innovator, you can

At first, Jessica Liddell couldn't get school administrators around town to even talk to her. At the Grand Rapids Public Library, they'd decided that the best way to improve literacy in school-age kids was to connect with their schools. That's almost impossible when you can't get a conversation started.

When she did finally get a message through, she was met with skepticism. What could the public library do to get kids more engaged with reading? It was a serious question, not a put-off. Jessica answered like it was a CFP, writing her extensive answer in a conference-length paper.

That paper earned her an in-person meeting with the assistant superintendent, a person the public library had been wanting to meet with. It was a great opportunity, but Jessica had only been working at the library for a couple of months. She got a crash course in the library's programs and history.

Out of that meeting, and conversations that followed, came the first small steps of a partnership. The DigiBridge project that came out of it won the Urban Libraries Council 2014 "Top Innovator" award for Leading Learning, and the project is going strong.

DigiBridge is an inspiring project, and if it sounds like the kind of program you'd hear about at a conference, you're right. Those presentations have been made. We wanted to talk to Jessica to hear where the project started. How did they build relationships? What did they do before they had a budget? How did they bridge the cultural gaps between libraries and schools?

That's why we're talking to Jessica Liddell this Thursday from 1–2 p.m., live via webinar. We want to hear about DigiBridge, and she'll start by giving a brief presentation about their project. Then we'll have an open question and answer time. I have questions ready from the conversation we've had already, and we'll be looking for questions from you, too.

Join us for an hour, and ask the questions you would want to ask after the conference panel ends. (Send your questions to or type them into the chat window during the event.)

  • Nathan Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator

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