2015 Libraries Building Community Summit

Shirley Biladeau's picture

If your public library is thinking of planning a community-based project for Summer Reading, Summer Slide, Make It or other library programming, consider participating in the 2015 Libraries Building Community Summit to be held April 29 and 30 in Boise.

Everyone wants to live in a healthy community -- one that offers economic, social and educational opportunities for every member of the community. A safe environment for families to grow, learn, and connect. The library, as noted by national reports such as the Aspen Institute and the Pew Report, is key to a healthy community. It provides a wealth of information, resources, and opportunities for individuals of all ages to learn, to expand their economiv capacity, and to connect with each other by building healthy relationships. It is imperative for every Idaho library, regardless of size, to reach out to its community and engage with others interested in fostering a vibrant community.

It sounds good, but where do we start? The Libraries Building Community Summit provides the road map to success by enabling each library team to identify a specific community need, build relationships, foster communication, and plan for the future, thereby enhancing the sustainability of the community in a collaborative manner.

In May 2014, five Idaho library teams laid groundwork for their individual community building activities. Each library brought a team of six people (library and community representatives) to participate in planning for an activity which has subsequently positively impacted both the community and the library. In November, the library director from each library presented their library's story about the process, progress, challenges, opportunities and successes of their individual community building project. Some of the outcomes have included

  • Realization that the community is demographically different than originally perceived.
  • New creative center which will become part of one library.
  • Steps toward working for downtown revitalization in which one library is central.
  • Regional Make It Faire, building relationships across communities and libraries.
  • Community-wide focus on reading, building awareness of library resources for individuals of all ages.