For the last eight years, Colbert Nembhard has volunteered his time reading to homeless children at the Crotona Inn homeless shelter in the Bronx. He believes in early literacy intervention and strives to cultivate a love of reading in children while they are young. When Nembhard is not providing programming at the Crotona Inn homeless shelter, he manages the Morrisania Branch Library of the New York Public Library. Andrew Hart interviewed Nembhard via email on December 8, 2016.
Posts Tagged ‘library outreach’
Highly specialized libraries are usually small, very well curated, and often noncirculating. They serve a variety of research and niche needs in a gorgeous setting.
The library is full of stories. Not only do we have books and tomes full of stories—both fiction and nonfiction—but by virtue of being an active community center, the library is also a place where so many stories happen. One of the most important things we can do is to listen. It’s by listening that we learn about what the community wants.
According to the United States Census Bureau, as of 2014, the estimated Hispanic population is 17.4 percent of the total 319 million U.S. population.1 Not every one of those individuals who classify themselves as Hispanic or Latino speaks Spanish. However, according to a 2015 report released by the prestigious Instituto Cervantes, “The United States is now the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico.”2 The U.S. has forty-one million native speakers and eleven million who are bilingual.3 Those are some serious numbers and public libraries are at the forefront of assisting many of these Hispanics with whatever resources they have available. Many Spanish speakers go to public libraries to look for answers regarding a path to citizenship, questions about the I-90 form, services offered for Spanish speakers, and my favorite, “¿Donde tienes tus libros españoles?” (“Where do you have your Spanish books?”) Publishing companies are doing their best to cater to this large community, but answer this question: Even with more Spanish books readily available, who are the librarians assessing community needs and building these Spanish and bilingual collections? It is one thing to be a Hispanic librarian, as I am, but it is another to truly understand the Hispanic community to know how a collection should be built.
Libraries transform not just by functioning as community centers but also through stepping outside the boundaries of the physical space and joining commuters on their journeys to and from work and travel. The Toronto Public Library is jumping on the bandwagon and is working on transforming its own community by adding a book-lending kiosk in one of its busiest train stations.
How did you celebrate National Friends of the Library Week, held October 18 through 24? I, completely unaware of the event celebrating our Friends, requested funding for a puppet show during the Annual Friends Meeting held that very same week! A blunder that our Friends President, Peter Lynch, automatically forgave because…well, that’s how Friends are […]
For years public libraries have provided summer reading programs, school reading lists and collections, conferences, clubs, and other educational, entertainment, and informational events for school age children. The purpose of this article is to provide a variety of examples of programs that are an easy way to facilitate learning while making studying enjoyable.
The overall mission of the Book Bike is to celebrate both literacy and healthy living while implementing creative ways to educate, provide library services, and instill pride in our urban communities. It’s a fun and visible tool that we use in areas where it is difficult or expensive for Cleveland residents to park as well as to catch the interest of the constant foot traffic downtown. While the People’s University Express was modeled after several bike-based library services that display informational services and materials to their community during outreach events, it also provides patrons with a library checkout station and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
For me, the discussion raised another issue: is the library’s obligation to the existing demographics of the community or to a more diversified perspective? Specifically, consider collection development, programming, and displays. Should we offer only that which applies to our known community’s demographics? Or should we try to broaden outlooks and horizons? Many times our decisions in these areas are shaped by our users. We might put up a holiday display because we believe our community expects or supports that perspective. But are we sure? Should we, in fact, be displaying alternative views as part of an obligation to support lifelong learning? Would we draw more users if we expanded beyond our perceived local culture? Is this not part of obligation, also? While it may be easy to say we should do both–support our community’s demographics and expand on the status quo–the finances and/or politics of many libraries may not allow for such a broad spectrum of activities or materials.
In this informal discussion, the authors share their experiences and ideas about working with and in local jail systems.
Two brand new libraries in the Province of Barcelona have a space with a kitchen and cooking equipment. The library directors explained why cooking programs for children and adults are very successful.
There has been a great deal of interest in public libraries’ involvement in e-government—the providing of access to and assistance with federal, state, and local government websites, forms, and programs. Another area that libraries have been exploring is that of digital outreach concerning how libraries are using their websites and mobile technology such as apps to reach their services beyond the library walls. This study is concerned with the overlap of these two growing areas of public librarianship and examines public libraries’ assistance with federal and state e-government through their websites with links to state and federal websites, information about e-government, and the supplying of state and federal e-government forms such as tax forms. Are public libraries offering access to e-government through their websites? If so, what are they offering and are some libraries more likely to offer e-government on their websites than other libraries?
We have all been at a public library enough to witness the inclination of the homeless to hang out there. It makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s open to the public, offers free shelter from the elements, provides entertainment, and has free facilities. The idea of using this public venue, which is funded by the community and for the community, to reach out to these individuals is relatively new and, to use a library term, overdue. In San Francisco, where more than 7,000 people are homeless, the city decided to place a social worker inside the main public library to do just that.
This winter I have been hosting a weekly podcast series with local entrepreneurs and business owners who want to share their stories of becoming their own boss. Podcasts can be created very easily and uploaded in a matter of minutes. They are a great way to share stories and connect community members.
When most people think of parolees, their first thought probably isn’t to sign them up for a library card. But in Tifton (Ga.) that’s exactly what we do. Since October 2012, the Tifton-Tift County Public Library (TTCPL) and the Tifton Day Reporting Center (DRC) have developed a working relationship that has allowed the library to expand outreach activities in the community and has given the DRC one more resource to offer their clients.