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Libraries Transforming Communities

Reflections on Year 2 of Skills for Community-Centered Libraries

Two people talking at a table

Blog post author Lynn Williamson is the chief of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Library Services Division, the project manager of Skills for Community-Centered Libraries and a participant in Cohort 6 of the trainings. Read more about the Skills for Community-Centered Libraries project at their 

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

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

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. 

NYPL's Community Conversations: Dialogue-Driven Programming

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.

Defining Community Engagement and Outreach

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.

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