In all honesty, I am not usually one for interactive sessions, so I was a little concerned when I walked into Peggy Holman’s “Community Engagement Conversation” session today and saw the small-group seating arrangement. However, I could not have been more pleasantly surprised with the results.
“I’m descended from a long line of book worms and librarians. They would be very proud of me for being here with you.” Caroline Kennedy’s revelation at the beginning of her Auditorium Speaker Series talk at ALA Midwinter set the tone for the entire session.
A simple fact about me: I can be a little set in my ways about what type of books I like to read. My mom has always told me I was a book snob. From an early age, she says, I would look at what she was reading, and make comments along the lines of, “Why are you reading this trash?”
Libraries must be engaged with their communities. Community engagement requires political engagement. This is unfortunate, but I believe libraries cannot be apathetic to the political process if they are to succeed. That is why I attended the Saturday morning Washington Office Update; I felt it important to get a political overview as it pertains to libraries.
ALA President Maureen Sullivan moderated “The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities,” a panel of three civic innovators held Saturday morning at Midwinter in Seattle. The panel served as a first step in building a sustainable, scalable national plan for library-led community engagement.
Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, offered his personal observations on the project’s survey report, “Library Services in the Digital Age” (PDF file), released January 22.