On Monday, July 27, ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., kicked off a 12-stop virtual tour to spotlight how libraries of all kinds across the country are addressing the needs of their diverse communities and engaging stakeholders to advocate for libraries. The 10-day Holding Space tour began at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and will end at the Hawaii State Library on Friday, August 7.
"When I was elected ALA President-Elect in 2019, I knew I wanted to shine a light on programs and communities that don’t get the attention they deserve,” said Jefferson. “One year later, as I begin my term as ALA President, libraries are more essential than ever, and yet library workers and library services are more vulnerable.”
At each stop on the tour, Jefferson will meet with library leaders, state and local partners, elected officials and other community influencers to cover a vast terrain of issues facing a broad range of institutions, including libraries at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, other academic libraries, school libraries, Tribal libraries and public libraries.
Holding Space tour stops include:
- July 27, 10 a.m. CT: Tour kickoff at the Library of Congress , Washington, D.C. Holding Space: A National Conversation Series with Libraries
- July 27, 1 p.m. CT: Stronger Together for Workforce Development , Cambria County Library, Penn
- July 28, 12 p.m. CT: Keeping Communities Connected in Ohio and Beyond , Muskingum County Library, Ohio
- July 29, 1 p.m. CT: Leveraging Place to Engage Community , Nashville Public Library, Tenn.
- July 30, 2 p.m. CT: Strengthening Communities and Developing Leaders at HBCU Libraries , University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Ark.
- July 31, 2 p.m. CT: Learning in Many Dimensions with Texas School Librarians , Lubbock ISD, Texas
- August 3, 1 p.m. CT: Partnering to Advance Career and Workforce Development , Pioneer Public Library, Okla.
- August 4, 2 p.m. CT: The Imperative of Broadband for Tribal Libraries , Santo Domingo Pueblo Library, N.M.
- August 5, 3 p.m. CT: From Interior to Border: Libraries Reaching Rural Communities , Cordes Lake Public Library, Ariz.
- August 6, 1 p.m. CT: Learn and Earn: Nevada Libraries Harness Virtual 3-D for Education and Careers , Nevada State Library, Nev.
- August 7, 2:30 p.m. CT: Listen to the Kids: Youth- and Family-Centered Practices at Oakland Public Library , Oakland Public Library, Calif.
- August 7, 4 p.m. CT: Spirit of Aloha: Hawaii Libraries Light the Path , Closing celebration in Hawaii
“Collectively, these conversations are an opportunity for ALA to listen and learn as well elevate the innovative work of the 12 libraries I visit,” said Jefferson. “Originally, I’d envisioned a bus tour, a sort of library celebration on wheels. But this virtual format allows us to critically examine our cultural moment through the lens of the most pressing issues in our profession.”
Each community discussion will explore local and national solutions to local and national issues and feature deep dives into an area of library service, including workforce development programs, children and family services, outreach to rural residents, and broadband for Tribal communities. Jefferson will also invite tour participants to join ALA’s campaign urging members of Congress to support the Library Stabilization Fund Act to protect the jobs of more than 366,000 library workers and the services that 116,000 libraries provide.
“Libraries are improving lives every day, providing internet access to underserved communities, helping people find jobs and build careers, empowering students as they develop literacy skills that will lead to lifelong learning,” said Jefferson. “Many of these successes take place in the shadows. Their stories need to be told, their professional organization and local community need to listen, and their elected leaders need to support them.”
For more information on tour stops and directions for joining the conversation, visit http://www.ala.org/advocacy/holding-space .