Connecting to Communities
Libraries are often right in the center of their respective communities and rightly play a central role in many. Here in Massachusetts, you’ll often find them right on the town green or square, near the town hall, police and fire stations, etc. Libraries embrace their role as community centers in many different ways.
One of the coolest community programs we’ve seen so far was in Wilmington, where the library held a month-long program on civic engagement and discourse. They brought in experts from different disciplines to share ideas and encourage conversation to help bring different viewpoints together. It was really ambitious and impressive.
It may not be that striking from the outside, but amazing things are being done by that team at the Wilmington library
As libraries embrace their role in their communities, you see new features being introduced. One of the most striking examples - at the Boston Public Library - is the WGBH studio where Jim and Marjorie broadcast Boston Public Radio two days a week. Not just news, though, the in-library studio also features live music, as it did this past weekend with a live broadcast of A Celtic Sojourn.
Another example of a libraries part in the community comes from the beautiful library in Adams. Built in the 1890s, the library served two purposes. First, as a library but primarily as a Grand Army of the Republic hall for veterans of the Civil War. The hall in Adams is outstanding and remains as it was more than 100 years ago. When town historical society was given a fife that was played during the war by a resident, wanted to share the fife with the community and did an thoughtful event around its place in the town’s history. (Shameless plug, Shades or Gray, a Civil War era camp band I was once a member of, was part of the event.)
We’ve seen classes for immigrants interested in improving their English or accessing services. There have been social workers that use the library to meet with homeless clients. Community meetings, lectures, tutoring session, STEM clubs and classes - all of these things are important and all are happening in libraries.
Having had the opportunity to play in that room, to be able to talk with library directors about the important programs they’re doing, seeing and hearing WGBH broadcasting from the Boston Public Library - all of these things point to the diverse roles libraries pay in their communities. Don’t forget. Visit your’s to see what it is doing to be a positive force for the community.