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ALA invites library workers to apply for a new annual grant to support innovative and meaningful community engagement efforts in libraries.
The Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant will provide $2,000 for a school, public, academic, tribal or special library to expand its community engagement efforts. Libraries are invited to apply by designing and outlining activities for a library-led community engagement project.
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
Denver Public Library has undertaken wide-ranging community engagement efforts, reaching out to the greater Denver community to discover its aspirations, concerns and needs. The library uses this information to guide its strategic work and to be responsive to the needs of its communities and customers.
Here, Erika R. Martinez, the library's director of communications and community engagement, shares how Denver Public learned about, and worked to overcome, their customers' feelings of disconnect in a fast-changing city.
In 2016, Sacramento Public Library Deputy Director Kathy Middleton took part in a three-day workshop with The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, a nonprofit organization that helps people and organizations solve pressing problems and change how communities work together.
Middleton hoped to use the Harwood Institute’s approach, called “Turning Outward,” to learn how the library could better serve people with disabilities. Here, she shares how what she learned in the workshop led to concrete changes at her library.
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.
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.
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.
Session 2, “Tools for Naming and Framing Public Issues," describes the steps and processes for leading a “naming and framing” effort, and how to apply tools that help people weigh options for moving forward together.
Also see Session 1, "Beyond Deadlock: A Better Way to Talk about Difficult Issues."