Monday, February 24, 2014

Apr/May: Community and Civic Engagement: The Library’s Role as Connector (Infopeople)

April 8 - May 5th    $75 (California)   $150 (Out of state)

    Are you looking for new ways to connect your library with your community? Do you want to promote community discourse and build capacity for civic engagement? Connecting people to each other and to local government is a traditional role of libraries that is expanding in new ways. Creative programs and partnerships bring people together, both face-to-face and online. Community one-book reading programs, citizenship and civics programs, Facebook and Twitter campaigns, literacy programs and library participation in local community events, among other efforts, establish the library as a vital connector in its community.

    This course will inform and support you in your efforts to form community partnerships and to enhance civic life in your community. Together we'll explore:

        Community and civic engagement as concepts: what they are and why they are important to libraries
        How government, non-profits and libraries can build useful and innovative relationships
        Assessing local interests and needs
        Targeting specific groups in your community
        Public forums in libraries: how to handle hot topics and reach consensus

    We will look at how your library can participate in local and community events, from the fun (festivals and fairs) to the serious (government boards and agencies). Exemplary programs will be introduced and discussed, and resources shared, with an emphasis on the practical steps that you can take in your own community. An online meeting during the course will focus on how to create and facilitate civic dialogue and reflection programs.

Course Description: During this four-week online course, you will have a chance to learn about many different methods and examples of community and civic engagement in libraries. A variety of assignments will give you opportunities to apply concepts to your own library situation. You will be able to participate in discussion forums, listen to interviews, and attend an online meeting with Vanessa Whang of CalHumanities. (The online meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 30, at 11 am Pacific time.) Your instructor will be there to facilitate the sharing of your experiences and knowledge. Resources will be provided for further reading and explorations.