Community building for libraries – the players

I knew when I started this blog that I was treading in some familiar, and well-written waters. Kathleen de la Pena McCook, Chrystie Hill, Librarian (whoever he/she is), and the many, many others who tackle libraries as institutions that build communities are already leading the way. I hope I can contribute some small part to this large and important conversation.

The Cultural Amenities Project is setting out to find how arts influences social and economic well-being in cities.

What does community building have to do with disaster preparedness? This article from Ashoka reflects a trend developing amongst policy makers and disaster preparedness experts that a strong and economically vibrant community can withstand the trauma of a disaster much better than one that is poor and vulnerable.

Who else out there is talking about libraries building communities?

Preserving the past to give cities a second chance

Preserving history has a role in empowering present communities. This story about preserving the intellectual history of ancient black Africa in Timbuktu illustrates this point.

Online community

Because I work for an online community, I’m fascinated by the power of online communities for supporting and strengthening a project and engaging new people into your work. I recently learned about Social Edge, an online community for social entrepreneurs. Check out the video blog of Nick Talarico and Kjerstin Erickson talking about Library Boys.

Community Asset Mapping

I’ve been reading Sondra Cuban’s Serving New Immigrant Communities in the Library and came across a section on community and cultural asset mapping. Long used in the development field as a community building tool, it identifies the strengths in a community by mapping its assets in terms of people, things, services, and resources. The Corporation for National and Community Service has a workbook you can order on how to do this. There are dozens of books written on this subject. I’m looking now for more resources and examples of it being done by libraries.