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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).
The town of Circle, Montana has a population of about 600 people. It is an isolated place, a place where the nearest Walmart is over 100 miles away. This being the case, Circle residents often depend on their local library as a place to find resources, build connections and strengthen relationships.
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.
Through ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries initiative, 567 libraries nationwide have received grants of up to $3,000 to support community engagement efforts. After examining reports from 443 of the participating libraries, we categorized the topics of discussion to identify common themes.
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.
One of the major issues small and rural libraries faced during the pandemic was planning programs while complying with local health guidelines. These libraries often have limited indoor space, making it difficult to maintain social distance when bringing in large groups of participants. The communities they serve may also lack reliable internet access, limiting access to virtual programming.
ALA and Capital One invite rural libraries to apply for Community Connect: Digital Access at Home grants. This new grant opportunity for rural public libraries will support digital access and financial capability for 20 communities nationwide.
Through Community Connect: Digital Access at Home, 20 rural public libraries will receive resources to support financial capability and internet access for their patrons for two years.
Let me start by saying that I am white. I am privileged beyond belief. I have never had to be afraid of being judged, dismissed or killed because of the color of my skin.
I feel too ignorant to speak on something as important as racism, and I want to stay in my lane. But I feel that for libraries to remain silent on what is going on in the world is to be complicit. That goes for tiny, rural libraries too.
Meservey, Iowa, is a tiny, rural town of just 240 people. We have a church, a bar, a post office … and my little library. There isn’t much to do in town as far as entertainment goes, so the library tends to serve as a community hub — we are one of the only local sources of free events and programming.
Read to Swim is a joint summer program with the Yukon Public Library and the local community pool that strives to get children familiar with the library space and reading during their break. It took place from July 6, 2018, through the end of August 2018.
After reading for one hour at the library, kids are given a voucher for free admission to the pool.
Escape/puzzle rooms are a popular way to incorporate gamification into your library. These interactive live adventure games appeal to all ages and abilities, and provide people with a chance to be a part of a story and their community as they problem solve.
You could hire a company to run your escape room, but the cost — plus the proprietary nature of their product — means that many libraries can only offer an escape room once, if at all. It's time to DIY!