Johnsburg Public Library District’s Homeschool Resource Center (HRC)

On my way back from the PLA Conference a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be able to stop in Johnsburg, Illinois to visit one of the premier library homeschooling collections, Johnsburg Public Library District’s Homeschool Resource Center (HRC). Library Director Maria Zawacki and dedicated volunteer Kathy Wentz were kind enough to take a few hours to meet with me, show me around, and answer my questions. I profiled the HRC in Helping Homeschoolers in the Library, and I mention it in all my talks about homeschooling. Johnsburg is a small community; the library only serves about 12,000 people. Several years ago, Zawacki and Wentz (a homeschooling mother and science teacher) partnered to write a Library Services and Technology Act Grant, which they won, to turn one of the library’s study rooms into a center where anyone could find a wide variety of learning materials. Here are some photos of the HRC as it exists now. Today, the collection is heavily-used, and not just by homeschoolers. It is evidence of the success libraries can have when they think creatively and work collaboratively with the homeschooling community.

Over the next few weeks, I’m hoping to do an occasional series, “Tips from the HRC” to share some of what I learned on my visit. In the meantime, you can learn more about the HRC:

* “The Public Librarian’s Role in Serving the Homeschooled Student” by Johnsburg director Maria Zawacki in CBC Magazine

* “Homeschool Resource Center in a Public Library” by Johnsburg volunteer and homeschooling mother Kathy Wentz in Home Education Magazine

* “In a Class of Their Own” by Ann Slattery in School Library Journal

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