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Middle School Panel

School bus

The Fifth Annual Middle School Panel  was a great opportunity for parents/guardians to hear about the local middle schools and their programs. This program was geared for parents/guardians of fourth- and fifth-graders. 

The event was hosted by the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library in partnership with 17 area schools and organizations. Program representatives from the area schools addressed parents, legal guardians and students about their respective middle schools in terms of academic programs, resources and performance.

A Tale of Two Organizations: Talking about Affordable Housing on the Lower East Side

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graphic of city buildings

A brief look at the history of New York City’s Lower East Side (LES) reveals that this little patch of land has always been an area ripe for intense debate. The portrayal of the neighborhood in books, film and other media is constant — the romance, horrors and bitter struggles. The LES is a place of rare historical significance, a community that has inspired generations of activists, radicals, advocates and new Americans to envision a better future.

Community Conversations: Engagement through Local History

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Group of people talking

The Upper West Side of Manhattan has been one of New York’s most recognizable neighborhoods, featured in dozens of films and television shows; our cultural landmarks run the gamut from Lincoln Center to Zabar’s food emporium. However, visitors and even residents of the Upper West Side might not be aware that the neighborhood has a rich activist history. 

Skills Training for Community-Centered Libraries: Building Your Library Team

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Sign that reads "teamwork is the ability to work together towards a common vision. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results."

Our first cohort of staff members participating in the Skills for Community-Centered Libraries training recently learned about and explored team roles and dynamics. Staff reflected on their own strengths and what attributes they bring to a team. Are they great at keeping everything running smoothly? Do they enjoy providing in-depth knowledge? 

Defining Community Engagement and Outreach

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Man and woman stand to the side of a conference room talking.

The Skills for Community-Centered Libraries initiative — a series of trainings meant to build community engagement capacities among staff — launched on Oct. 2, so it’s a good time for the Free Library of Philadelphia’s community organizing team to share what exactly we mean by community engagement. A common definition is a baseline for discussion at workshops and a way to push people’s thinking.

Introducing Free Library of Philadelphia’s Community-Centered Libraries Initiative

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Two groups of people sit at two tables and participate in a meeting.

The Aspen Institute’s influential report “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries” predicts that in the coming years, the most successful public libraries will be the ones with services that prioritize and support local community goals.

Speed Repping

Woman at a table talking with another woman

On April 13, the Berkshire Athenaeum hosted a Speed Repping program. What is Speed Repping? Much like speed dating, Speed Repping provides community members a few minutes to sit down with their representatives in a one-on-one setting and ask them questions about who they are, what they do, or just voice concerns.

The Memphis Public Library ran a similar program in 2017. Through this program, city representatives engaged thoughtfully with the people they serve in a relaxed atmosphere. 

Civic Lab

A librarian discusses the Civic Lab topic with a patron.

Skokie Public Library's Civic Lab is a pop-up experience held within the library that offers information, activities and discussion on issues facing our community. Topics have included race, media literacy, endangered species, net neutrality and Standing Rock.

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