Building Community

Elevate patron voices through engagement, partnerships, and volunteerism

September 1, 2020

The library’s influence extends beyond its walls. These selections offer ways librarians can engage their community via volunteer efforts, collaborations, advocacy, and more.

Cover of The Art of GatheringThe Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters
By Priya Parker
We spend much of our time in meetings, at conferences, and attending other work-related affairs—either in person or virtually—but often those experiences are narrowly focused on logistics, one-way communication, and mechanics. Parker shows that getting together with other people doesn’t have to be boring; we can instead fill meetings with moments and interactions that will capture our attention and change and connect us. This guide is full of ideas on how to shape your gatherings and become an active participant, so you can get more meaning out of them. While Parker does not explicitly talk about virtual gatherings, she has published free resources on her website to connect the book’s lessons to gathering while apart. Riverhead Books, 2018. 320 p. $28. 978-1-5946-3492-5. (Also available as an ebook.)

Cover of Crowdsource Your Library, Engage Your Community: The What, When, Why, and How Crowdsource Your Library, Engage Your Community: The What, When, Why, and How
By Sara A. Fiore
This guide shows new ways to crowdsource ideas from your library community and provides solutions and support to successfully execute those ideas. Using examples from libraries across the country and tactics on how to serve specific demographic groups, the book illustrates how to use crowdsourcing and crowdfunding as tools to empower outreach, develop staff, plan strategically, and more. Through these local partnerships and engagements, libraries can tackle a variety of endeavors that will not only serve but also celebrate patrons. Libraries Unlimited, 2018. 122 p. $50. PBK. 978-1-4408-6111-6. (Also available as an ebook.)

Cover of From Library Volunteer to Library Advocate: Tapping into the Power of Community EngagementFrom Library Volunteer to Library Advocate: Tapping into the Power of Community Engagement
By Carla Campbell Lehn
In this book, Lehn urges readers to imagine volunteerism not simply as assigning tasks throughout the library, but rather as a strategy for engagement that matches volunteers’ skills and interests to the library’s needs. In the shorter term, restructuring tasks helps build meaningful relationships with volunteers, leading to more purposeful work. In the longer term, volunteers gain a better understanding of the role of the library and can become advocates who can help strategize for community needs. Libraries Unlimited, 2018. 186 p. $50. PBK. 978-1-4408-5670-9. (Also available as an ebook.)

Cover of Community Partnerships with School Libraries: Creating Innovative Learning Experiences Community Partnerships with School Libraries: Creating Innovative Learning Experiences
By Bridget Crossman
Crossman explores community partnerships that support the learning experiences of patrons inside and outside the school library, showcasing how these collaborations can support learners as they develop skills crucial for lifelong learning. While this book is targeted to school librarians, its lessons—on how reimagined relationships can create an environment that empowers patrons while simultaneously identifying and addressing their needs—can be valuable for libraries of all types. Libraries Unlimited, 2019. 187 p. $45. PBK. 978-1-4408-6891-7.

Cover of Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life
By Radha Agrawal
Belong aims to help readers build authentic and meaningful relationships in fulfilling communities. Using prompts, charts, quizzes, and stories, Agrawal presents a self-discovery process that can help people identify their values, interests, and abilities and use them to find a like-minded group. While this book is primarily for personal exploration, it can help librarians reflect on the shared interests and goals of their library and users while identifying ways to communicate and navigate through constraints, all in a fun and unexpected way. Workman Publishing Group, 2018. 232 p. $19.95. 978-1-5235-0205-9. (Also available as an ebook.)

Cover of Whole Person Librarianship: A Social Work Approach to Patron ServicesWhole Person Librarianship: A Social Work Approach to Patron Services
By Sara K. Zettervall and Mary C. Nienow
Zettervall and Nienow believe that librarians and social workers have a common goal of connecting people to needed services. Whole Person Librarianship points out the complementary values and distinct approaches both professions employ in serving their communities. By highlighting a shared mission, the authors show how connection can become collaboration. Whether collaborating with social workers or learning from their practices, library workers will find this book helpful in referring patrons to services that best meet their community’s needs. Libraries Unlimited, 2019. 175 p. $55. PBK. 978-1-4408-5776-8. (Also available as an ebook.)

RELATED ARTICLES:



Reenvisioning Work

Connect yourself with your career



Getting to Know You (Again)

Reexploring collection management