Partridge Comes Prepared to Collaborate

Partridge Comes Prepared to Collaborate
Posted on 09/01/2020

Manatee County, FL - A 3,200-mile move from Longview, WA, to Bradenton during COVID might help to prepare anyone for a job transition. Preparation is something new Manatee Libraries’ Library Services Manager, Elizabeth Partridge, has a solid track record of doing.

Partridge brings with her three Master’s degrees in Teaching English as a Second Language, Spanish and Library Science a unique combination of experience, that includes serving as Literacy Coordinator.

Most recently Partridge was the Adult Services Librarian at Longview Public Library in Cowlitz County, Washington. For 15 years she was responsible for developing programs for adults and families in ESL (English as a Second Language), literacy, digital literacy, basic technology, arts and culture and more. She has served as a leader for her community at the city, county and state level and has accumulated 25 years of higher-education teaching experience.

Armed with both teaching and library experience, Partridge was able to help tackle a myriad of community challenges for Longview. Although about one-fourth the size of Manatee County, Cowlitz County is a highly diverse community where Partridge led several collaborative projects to increase access and effectiveness of educational literacy programs and activities.

Ava Ehde, Neighborhood Services Director, said Partridge’s broad perspective fits well with Manatee County.

“Elizabeth brings great drive, experience, passion and a truly collaborative spirit to the position which oversees a growing number of libraries and a Little Discovery Center for learning opportunities for families with small children. She joins Assistant Library Manager Tammy Parrot (hired in late 2019) to form an impressive new library management team,” said Ehde. “It will take their combined efforts to implement innovative, responsive solutions to the complex problems the pandemic has imposed on our community.” 

One of Partridge’s priorities will be leading Manatee Libraries’ continued efforts to reach out to help Manatee County’s displaced workers gain access to employment and training tools and children, teachers and parents/guardians find resources to supplement their elearning.

Partridge specializes in Small Business and Workforce Development. She oversaw the creation of a Small Business Hub that served as a first-stop information center for reference and referral to County-wide small business development groups and a help center for job seekers.

Similar to Manatee Libraries, Longview partnered with SCORE to provide direction on different topics, such as marketing, building and business planning, and enable them to provide one-on-one mentoring for people at any stage of business development. To make it easier for people to attend the classes, the library system transferred the classes to an online platform, which came in handy after COVID hit. Partridge then led the development of several virtual programs, including an initiative with the Washington State Library to provide Google tools, such as Grow with Google.

As the uncertainty with COVID continues, Manatee Libraries remains focused on digital programming. Adding to its long list of storytime and how-to videos produced internally over the past few months, team members are planning to create 5- to 10-minute job-related videos. This includes how to access Learning Express, the Job & Career Accelerator and Lynda.com tutorials, as well as small business resources, such as Mergent Intellect (industry market research database).

Regarding elearning, library team members have continued to promote supplemental learning tools, such as tutor.com, which provides online, live academic tutoring (in English and Spanish) homework help and test preparation to K-12 grade students, plus early college students and adult learners. Team members also have been promoting online library card registrations. The first month of Manatee Libraries’ closing, approximately 1,000 people registered for a digital library card, and since then new monthly digital card registrations have averaged 540.

Partridge also hopes to collaborate with the other divisions/teams that make up Manatee County’s Neighborhood Services’ Department: Children’s, Aging, Veterans, Neighborhood Connections, Underinsured Healthcare, Probation/Pretrial Release and Fee Assistance.

“I am excited to be a part of a department that offers so many services—all under one roof—having come from a stand-alone library system where we worked for several years to reach the groups with which Neighborhood Services already has existing relationships,” said Partridge.

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month. Manatee County residents who don’t have a card can gain access to all of these digital resources by signing up for a digital card.

For more information, please contact Kelly Foster, Neighborhood Services Marketing & Public Relations, at 941-748-4501, x3431.

About the Manatee Libraries: The Florida Library Association’s 2016 Library of Year and 2013 “Library Innovation” winner, the Manatee County Public Library System supports the County’s growing community and visitors through a wide range of educational and technological resources and programs at seven facilities in downtown Bradenton (Riverwalk), the east county region, the south county area, Holmes Beach, Palmetto, Ellenton and the LITtle Discovery Center (for ages 0 to 5). Manatee Libraries was visited by nearly 850,000 customers who made use of its resources over 3.9 million times (a record high). Downloads of their digital ebook/eaudio/movies have continued to double each year, while technical training and computer assistance were up 16%. The 47,000 customers who attended their wide variety of informational and educational programs and events reflect an increase of 130% since 2006. For more information, call Downtown Library at (941) 748-5555. For more information on Manatee County Public Library System, visit Go to Manatee Libraries' About Page, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For more information about Manatee County Government, call 941-748-4501 or visit mymanatee.org, Facebook or Twitter.

About Manatee County Neighborhood Services Department: Neighborhood Services provides a wide range of services focused on enhancing the overall quality of life for Manatee County residents. Through Children’s, Aging, Veterans, Libraries, Underinsured Healthcare, Probation and Fee-Assistance Services and Programs, the Neighborhood Services Department works to inform and connect residents to valuable resources. For more information, call (941) 749-4501, visit mymanatee.org/neighborhood and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @manateeneighbor. For more information about Manatee County Government, call 941-748-4501 or visit mymanatee.org, and follow them on facebook.com @manatee.county.fl or twitter @ManateeGov.