“Community conversations” is a really hot topic these days, involving all types of people and organizations at all levels. Libraries are not outside of this arena – in fact they are very much in the center – or should be.
The purpose of “community conversations” is to obtain input from a diverse cross-section of the public about a particular topic or issue. More and more libraries are using this means of community engagement to help individuals and groups share their views and learn from others, with the intended outcome being greater understanding, greater empathy, and greater tolerance between members of their communities. Community conversations can even lead to shared vision and cooperation between initially opposing groups. But the first step is to get people talking.
We invite you to look at resources and guides available to assist you in these conversations, but also learn from what your co-workers in different libraries are doing to facilitate and promote these conversations.
In 2016, the Poudre River Public Library District partnered with the Fort Collins Human Resources Commission to present four community forums on issues about diversity in our community. These conversations were complicated, controversial, and far from perfect, but they needed to happen.
Listen to her story and share your own experiences and thoughts with others throughout Colorado and help your colleagues learn how libraries can cultivate positive conversations within their communities.