The L.P. Fisher Public Library in Woodstock, New Brunswick, likes to periodically hold Family Art Nights. It is a process-oriented, intergenerational program that allows people of all ages, whether they think of themselves as “artistic” or not, to try their hand at something creative. There is no defined outcome, so people can experiment and enjoy the process of play, something that is very good for relieving stress.
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Our first cohort of staff members participating in the Skills for Community-Centered Libraries training recently learned about and explored team roles and dynamics. Staff reflected on their own strengths and what attributes they bring to a team. Are they great at keeping everything running smoothly? Do they enjoy providing in-depth knowledge?
From September 2017 to June 2018, the Palos Verdes Library District partnered with 12 local organizations to offer 36 programs on health, wellness, financial security, self-care and more for adults ages 55 and older. It was a complicated initiative with many moving pieces, and it was a new endeavor for nearly everyone involved.
It also took an incredible amount of planning. Before embarking on any program planning (including writing a grant proposal), you need to decide what that program is going to be, right?
How do you do that? A needs assessment!
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.
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.
The Aspen Institute’s influential report “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries” predicts that in the coming years, the most successful public libraries will be the ones with services that prioritize and support local community goals.
Makerspaces foster creativity and encourage out-of-the-box thinking, but they often require physical space that a library doesn't have. But even if your library doesn't have a dedicated makerspace, you can still incorporate maker elements into your day. Our school library transforms our lunch period into maker time with STEAM activities such as our Mystery Maker Challenge.