A member of METRO since 2005, the Putnam/Northern Westchester (P/NW) BOCES Professional Library and School Library System (SLS) serves eighteen school districts in Northern Westchester and Putnam County. The role of the library is twofold: School Library System Coordinator Joseph Mannozzi and Library Clerk Kathy Friedlander provide research services for school librarians, teachers, and principals in their service area, as well as coordinating professional development for more than seventy school media specialists who in turn teach a combined 60,000 students.
P/NW BOCES is one of thiry-seven Boards of Cooperative Educational Services in New York State. The BOCES system itself began in 1948 as a regional support system through which school districts could share educational resources and services. Membership in the BOCES does not extend to the “Big 5” school districts, New York City among them. P/NW is one of two BOCES in METRO’s service area; all other school media specialists who are members of METRO come to us through New York City Department of Education's Office of Library Services.
The collaborative model evinced by the BOCES system is reflected in the services provided by the P/NW BOCES Professional Library. Mannozzi and Friedlander deliver on requests for articles and resources through ILLIAD, maintain a special collections of titles in K - 12 education, and provide access to subscription databases to educators in their service area. The SLS offers consortial pricing to component schools for subscription databases, and beginning in July 2014, will offer library automation and a core collection of nonfiction ebooks.
To help school media specialists in their district build a support system, the library maintains a vibrant discussion list and offers networking opportunities through events on topics like Common Core standards and training on specific databases. Says Mannozzi, “librarianship is not about going solo. It’s about maintaining a strong professional network and knowing where to turn for support.”
Mannozzi is collaborating with Leanne Ellis from NYC’s Department of Education Office of Library Services (with support from METRO) to plan a conference that will bring together school media specialists and other interested professionals from across the Westchester and New York City region and beyond. The Uncommon Core Conference on June 2, 2014 at the New-York Historical Society is a regional event that promises to continue the conversation on building Common Core standards into diverse subject areas. Through events like these, Mannozzi hopes to carry out P/NW BOCES’ mission of “service and innovation through partnership” by helping his colleagues to continue to provide an excellent education to their students. “Librarianship is a customer service business,” Mannozzi states. “The profession will thrive through providing top-notch support to library users.”
Image provided by Joseph Mannozzi.