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Libraries participating in Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Focus on Small and Rural Libraries were encouraged to share information about their programming and its outcomes through letters to local elected officials.
As a librarian, you may face stressful or potentially harmful situations on the job. Maybe you’ve recently had a run-in with a patron asking you uncomfortable questions or had a program that was met with protests. What are the best ways to de-escalate these situations? Luckily, they are techniques you probably already have in your librarian toolbox.
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.
“Residents were used to being out and about; they came into the library for programs and read-alouds, they had off-campus jobs, they went to the movies and the pool. […] Unfortunately, once the pandemic came around, they became one of the most isolated groups in our community,” says Jolene Poore, director of Ada Public Library in Ada, Oklahoma.
The Plant Share and Propagation Library is an area where patrons can donate loose cuttings and/or small potted plants to share. This area is the first part of our makerspace that has a STEAM identity and embraces the heritage of Catawba County, one of artisans, craftsman, textiles, furniture and entrepreneurship.
"Wi-Fi hotspots have been a Godsend for our community,” says Brenda Cervantes, grants and special projects administrator at Yuma County Public Library in Arizona. “With no coffee shops or large shopping centers, there are essentially no spaces in the community that provide free Wi-Fi or internet service outside of the libraries.”
Animal Advocates is a program for animal-loving kids and teens that began in September 2021. Members meet once a month with the mission to help local shelters and educate the community about animal rights, animal welfare and environmental topics that impact us all. We occasionally go to animal shelters to volunteer for field trips.
Everyone loves tamales! Telescopes and Tamales was a community-centered program featuring an outdoor tamale dinner, presentations and videos on the upcoming James Webb Telescope launch, and STEAM crafts for kids. The program was topped off with a chance for participants to look through a telescope and view stars and planets on a clear, beautiful night.
It’s easy to imagine a successful program as a packed Zoom call or large outdoor gathering — but major change doesn’t necessarily require major turnout.
Through ALA's Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Focus on Small and Rural Libraries initiative, libraries engage their small communities in discussion around issues that matter. Here are the stories of two libraries whose programs started small.
The Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries initiative supports small and rural libraries to engage their communities in discussion around issues that matter. However, the most important topics to talk about are often the most controversial. Here are two stories of how librarians prepared for difficult conversations.
Albany Public Library was the recipient of ALA’s 2021 Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant for its Branching Out program, a community initiative intended to uplift local Black voices in music and art.
ALA has announced the “Ask, Listen, Empower” Virtual Book Club, a series of three virtual, interactive conversations about community engagement to be held once per month in January, February and March 2022.