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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.
“We are the leaders we have been waiting for." -Grace Lee Boggs, philosopher and activist
The Free Library of Philadelphia is full of leaders, and so are the neighborhoods in which we are located. To foster collaboration with community members and organizations, we are building staff capacity in two ways:
The New York Public Library’s (NYPL) Jefferson Market branch, a historic building located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighborhood, enjoys a close, long-standing and reciprocal relationship with the local community.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” — Xun Kuang, philosopher
Imagine trying to learn to knit. Would you learn best by reading a book about knitting? Hearing a friend talk about knitting? Watching an expert knitter? Or learning the basic steps and actually trying to knit?
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.
In February 2017, the New York Public Library (NYPL) launched a Community Conversations pilot with the goal of further establishing branch libraries as key civic convening centers, providing space, information and quality discussion for communities to better understand and problem-solve around local issues.
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?
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.
On April 13, the Berkshire Athenaeum hosted a Speed Repping program. What is Speed Repping? Much like speed dating, Speed Repping provides community members a few minutes to sit down with their representatives in a one-on-one setting and ask them questions about who they are, what they do, or just voice concerns.
The Memphis Public Library ran a similar program in 2017. Through this program, city representatives engaged thoughtfully with the people they serve in a relaxed atmosphere.
Conversation Cafés are great for helping community members learn more about themselves, their community or an issue, and the process is easily adaptable and requires minimal resources.
This webinar will emphasize how to organize and facilitate these cafés, shifting from small talk to big talk in conversations that matter. Learn more about the Conversation Café process.
The Future Search process enables large, diverse groups to validate a common mission, take responsibility for action, and develop commitment to implementation through concrete action plans. Libraries will gain an understanding of how Future Search can be used in their internal and community engagement efforts. Learn more about Future Search.
Participants in this session will:
Using NCDD’s Engagement Streams Framework and a variety of dialogue resources, participants will learn about the steps for designing successful dialogues that best fit their circumstances and resources. They will also gain an understanding of approaches to dialogue that can help them achieve their goals.
Librarians have always been seen as great sources for information. So when the quarterly community newspaper of Weare, a small New Hampshire town 70 miles outside Boston, closed in 2016, the residents looked to Weare Public Library Director Mike Sullivan for a solution.