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Small and rural libraries that received funding from ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Focus on Small and Rural Libraries initiative often developed conversation series that built on previously established partnerships and existing programming.
Community engagement is a key component to the work of all library types. In fact, knowledge of the community is one of the 9 Core Library Programming Competencies as identified by NILPPA (the National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment).
Through our evaluation of ALA's Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Focus on Small and Rural Libraries initiative, we’ve seen libraries reach out to their publics to assess needs, host discussions about pressing issues, and expand their roles as community centers.
When the staff at Waimea (Hawaii) Public Library learned that the county of Kauai needed their community’s feedback on development plans for a new 417-acre parcel of land, they saw an opportunity to continue the library’s engagement work. What the library staff could not have known was that it would also be an opportunity to be part of helping a community regain trust in its leaders.
Navajo Astronomy was a hybrid program comprised of three virtual and in-person sessions presented in both the English and Diné languages during the winter months of January through early March. The program described traditional Navajo astronomy, constellations, and the unique way in which Navajo people view the cosmos. Presentations covered winter storytelling and discussions of Navajo culture and ceremonies.
Traditionally, winter stories are only told during the winter months which meant that the library was culturally not allowed to record the stories.
Communication is complex. The way people communicate and the beliefs we have are deeply layered; our life experiences impact how we connect and communicate with others.
People with whom we’re communicating also have a lived experience that they’re bringing to our interactions. They also have lenses through which they see the world.
When Racine Public Library was granted a Resilient Communities grant from ALA, Community Resources Librarian Nick Demske was excited to do transformative programming around climate change in his community. His plan: to desegregate the environmental activism community in Racine.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to face some unexpected truths. Many of us quickly realized, while quarantined in our living rooms-turned-workspaces, that all the technology in the world could not replace human connection. We missed our neighbors, classmates and colleagues — our sense of community.
LTC: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is open to libraries in the U.S. and U.S. territories that serve small or rural communities. The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) defines small communities as those with a legal service area population of 25,000 or less and rural communities as those more than, or equal to, five miles from an urbanized area.
The Free Library of Philadelphia received a 2017 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to implement the Skills for Community-Centered Libraries Initiative. The project’s goal is to create a practical curriculum to build community engagement capacity in 300 staff members at all levels.