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community engagement

Implementing Community Change: Positive and Productive Partnerships

In this 60-minute webinar, representatives of the Zion-Benton Township High School Library and Zion Township supervisor’s office will share how they worked together to initiate a unique reading and discussion program to tackle issues of equity, diversity and inclusion among teens in their community. Learn how aligning library goals to wider community concerns can create positive partnerships that reap benefits for all stakeholders.

Participants of this session will:

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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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 for Community-Centered Libraries: Learning through Experience

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Edgar Dale's Cone of Experience

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” — Xun Kuang, philosopher

Imagine trying to learn to knit. Would you learn best by reading a book about knitting? Hearing a friend talk about knitting? Watching an expert knitter? Or learning the basic steps and actually trying to knit?

NYPL's Community Conversations: Dialogue-Driven Programming

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Librarian practices facilitating a discussion

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is a system of four research libraries and 88 circulating branch libraries that serves the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. The library’s Adult Programming and Outreach Services office works with staff across the circulating branch system to provide centralized resources that support the diverse needs of patrons from all walks of life.

Community Conversations Across Neighborhoods: Dialogue-Driven Programming

New York Public Library LogoIn February 2017, the New York Public Library (NYPL) launched a Community Conversations pilot with the goal of further establishing branch libraries as key civic convening centers, providing space, information and quality discussion for communities to better understand and problem-solve around local issues.

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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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

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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. 

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