Join the National Conversation About Mental Health

Libraries across the country are invited to join a national conversation about mental health over the coming months. These dialogues will bring people together at large forums, in small-group discussions, in city-wide deliberations, and online. Launched at the White House in early June, this Creating Community Solutions conversation intends to increase understanding and awareness about mental health, with a particular focus on young people.

Coffee and Crochet Hooks: Crafting an Adult Hand Skills Program

Arts ’n crafts have long been a staple library program, but are typically aimed at children. However, crafting for adults has recently re-emerged as a popular hobby. Image-based bookmarking site Pinterest helps users share ideas and inspire one another’s creativity. Meanwhile, Etsy, the online marketplace for buying and selling hand-crafted goods, currently has thousands of shops selling everything from knitted 1940s-style snoods to furniture to chocolates, and claims about fifteen million buyers.

Featured Library: Beaufort County Library

A popular program presented by libraries each year is “One City, One Book,” which promotes literacy by encouraging a community to read—and discuss—the same book at the same time. Using a similar format, the Beaufort County (S.C.) Library is presenting “One County Reads One Country” this fall. The goal of the project is to generate thoughtful dialogue about Afghanistan and its history and culture, in order to promote a greater understanding of this country and its people.

Libraries and Democratic Life: Promoting Civic Engagement

I’m writing from outside the library world to talk about something powerful that can happen inside the library. I work with the Project on Civic Reflection, a national organization that helps get reflective discussion going in order to build community and deepen people’s understanding of their fellow community members and themselves. Over the past several years, what my colleagues and I generally work for outside the library has started to happen in very promising ways inside the library.

Build Common Ground in Your Community

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office is accepting applications for Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion, a multiformat discussion program for public audiences to spark action, engagement, and reflection within the community. This library programming initiative is supported by the Fetzer Institute. More information, including programming resources and the online application, is available at the Building Common Ground website. Applications are due November 18, 2011.

Help Us Learn More about Your Civic Engagement Programs

The ALA Center for Civic Life is mapping civic engagement activities in libraries. We need your help! If you haven’t already filled out our survey, it’s not too late. We are interested in learning more about more about civic/community engagement activities in libraries. We have already heard from public, school, academic, government, state and special libraries that are undertaking exciting programs that engage their communities in civic life. Let’s hear from you as well.

Lunch with Books

Ohio County Public Library rolls out the red carpet for the writer, director, and producer of Doughboy at the Lunch with Books program


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