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community engagement

NYPL's Community Conversations: Dialogue-Driven Programming

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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.

Community Conversations Across Neighborhoods: Dialogue-Driven Programming

New York Public Library LogoIn 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.

Skills Training for Community-Centered Libraries: Building Your Library Team

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Sign that reads "teamwork is the ability to work together towards a common vision. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results."

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? 

Defining Community Engagement and Outreach

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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.

Introducing Free Library of Philadelphia’s Community-Centered Libraries Initiative

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Two groups of people sit at two tables and participate in a meeting.

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.

Speed Repping

Woman at a table talking with another woman

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. 

LTC: Conversation Café (Series 3 for Public Libraries Serving Small, Mid-Sized and/or Rural Communities: 3 of 3)

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.

LTC: Future Search (Series 3 for Public Libraries Serving Small, Mid-Sized and/or Rural Communities: 2 of 3)

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:

LTC: Introduction to Dialogue & Deliberation for Public Libraries Serving Small, Mid-sized and/or Rural Communities (Series 3: 1 of 3)

NCDD logoUsing 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.

The Longest Table

People seated at the Longest Table Event

The Longest Table, the first of its kind in Maryland, brought together a diverse group of more than 300 guests to share a meal and engage in meaningful conversation about their community. This program was part of Choose Civility, an ongoing community-wide initiative, led by Howard County Library System, to position Howard County as a model of civility. The initiative's mission values diversity and chooses respect, compassion, empathy and inclusiveness as essential to quality of life.

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