Librarians are natural problem solvers, so engaging with the community and helping to solve real-life community challenges should be an easy fit for us. And for some, it is. For others, who like the safety of the library’s four walls and the status quo of traditional library services, community outreach can be daunting. Rest assured that there are many tools and resources to help you look outward and help make your community better.
Posts Tagged ‘community outreach’
Tech mobiles are popping up in big cities as well as small, narrowing the digital divide for underserved communities. These tech mobiles offer a variety of resources including classes, Wi-Fi access, computers for the homeless to apply for jobs, opportunities for youth to mess around with technology, as well the ability for patrons to borrow Wi-Fi hotspots to take home. As the advent of technology becomes more and more a regular part of our lives and a requirement for schools, it’s imperative to provide the same opportunities for everyone in order to be able to become modern twenty-first century learners and professionals.
There are many ways to reach out to the Hispanic community. Do not underestimate the little things and do not assume the Hispanic community does not take notice.
For the last year and a half, Hartford (CT) Public Library (HPL) has participated in ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) program with the goal of strengthening its community’s relationship with the local police force. Through initiatives such as community theater and block parties, HPL has helped fill this need so clearly indicated by its residents.
The maker movement brings together handicrafts and technology in one exciting phenomenon. Whether you like crafts or circuits, or a combination of the two, there’s something for you. Libraries across the world, are offering specialized maker programs to encourage interest in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, as well as the more artistic areas of making. Some libraries are also offering programs tailored to specific patron groups, like maker programs for girls. An example of this is the Make-HER program at Sunnyvale (CA) Public Library.
Sociologists and researchers believe that we may be moving toward a society where 30-50% of the workforce is no longer traditionally employed, which will have a profound impact on the future of public libraries.
Every July, thousands of people converge on Comic-Con International: San Diego to have an in-person experience with their favorite comics, TV shows, and movies. Throughout the year, conventions celebrating comics, pop culture, super heroes, and more take place across the country. These events are fantastic opportunities for libraries to meet potential users who might never have thought of the library as a place they would go, and connect with those who already love their library on a new level.
Public libraries, school libraries, and academic libraries provide Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and incomes with access to “unlimited possibilities.” The State of America’s Libraries 2015: A Report from the American Library Association recognizes American libraries as “community anchor institutions” whose missions include economic benefits—as well as creating a more democratic, just, and equitable society.
With the boom in electronic publication and self-publishing, the world of writing is being transformed. Although traditional publication routes are still available, libraries are creating tools and spaces to make publication more of a reality for their patrons.
For a while we have heard a great deal about STEM. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This focus has understandably trickled down to the public library. While I support and see the value in the STEM disciplines, I must point out that a stem without flowers is pretty bleak. It is only through diverse and well-rounded education that true advancement can be made. Aesthetic and creative disciplines are as valuable as science and math. A liberal arts education still has value. It concerns me that as a culture we seem to be abandoning humanities and arts for science and technology, rather than trying to maintain a healthy balance.
In the end, our Literacy Program has had a positive impact on everyone who has taken part in it. One of our learners finished her college degree, another has gone back to college, and another learner now reads books for pleasure. Many of our learners have become frequent library customers. Staff too, have found the work of providing literacy training and education essential to the community and also very satisfying on a personal level.
In this informal discussion, the authors share their experiences and ideas about working with and in local jail systems.
The public library is a go-to place for communities seeking social change to learn, plan, and exercise our rights in the face of widening concerns over police brutality. The Library as Refuge A recent Public Libraries Online, The Little Library That Lent a Hand, detailed how the Ferguson Municipal Public Library District in Missouri remained […]
The New York Public Library, along with the City of New York, is bringing low-income New Yorkers out of the “digital dark” with free internet access at home. The New York Public Library, partnering with Sprint, decided to improve access for its patrons by lending out hotspots, which are essentially mobile devices that transmit a wireless signal
A growing number of public libraries across the United States are embracing an unlikely program as part of their summertime operations—U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) summer meal programs. Subverting the historic stereotype of “no food in the library,” public libraries are providing free lunches and snacks to children and teens during the summer, and utilizing these
programs to engage underserved families, enhance the summer reading program, develop new community partnerships, and
raise the library’s profile. And it’s working. Public library summer meal programs are helping ensure that children and teens in low-income neighborhoods are healthy and engaged during the summer, enabling them to return to school in the fall ready to learn. In addition, they are bringing new and often underserved families to the library and introducing them to library resources, facilitating new community partnerships, engaging local leaders with the library, increasing the visibility of library services, and providing new opportunities for youth development in the library.