Knowledge Creates Power

Fostering stronger communities through civic engagement

September 1, 2023

Librarian's Library by Araceli Mendez Hintermeister

Libraries serve as important connectors for patrons navigating how to be active citizens in their communities. By providing knowledge and resources, libraries can play a role in social change and empower patrons to comprehend and tackle issues at large. These featured books underscore the various ways libraries can help cultivate stronger societies through civic engagement and community development.

Cover of Library Collaborations and Community Partnerships: Enhancing Health and Quality of LifeLibrary Collaborations and Community Partnerships: Enhancing Health and Quality of Life 
This title showcases libraries as vital collaborators in communities through their efforts to foster engagement, build connections, and serve as partners in leadership. Firsthand accounts of projects and programs help illustrate the ways these institutions are uniquely positioned to recognize local needs and facilitate resource and knowledge sharing to empower the people they serve. The applicable strategies and lessons of each chapter allow readers to view the examples within the context of their own libraries and consider how they can play a transformative role in community engagement and growth. Routledge, 2020. 248 p. $48.95. PBK. 978-1-1383-4329-0. (Also available as an ebook.)

Book cover of Young Activists and the Public LibrarianYoung Activists and the Public Library: Facilitating Democracy 
By Virginia A. Walter
In this insightful book, Walter—former president of the Association for Library Service to Children—uses case studies and interviews to explore how libraries can support young patrons’ desire to get involved in their communities by providing them with reliable information and creating leadership opportunities. By providing examples of library programs and projects for budding activists, this title will help readers grow their civic literacy and civic engagement efforts. ALA Editions, 2020. 128 p. $45.99. PBK. 978-0-8389-4738-8.

Book cover of Practicing Futures: A Civic Imagination Action Handbook

Practicing Futures: A Civic Imagination Action Handbook 

By Gabriel Peters-Lazaro and Sangita Shresthova
Practicing Futures is a guide for those interested in civic imagination, the practice of using imagined worlds as a means of analyzing real-world social issues and potential solutions. By outlining its six key functions, this transformative book explores how civic imagination activates, mobilizes, and empowers individuals. Readers will discover the potential of this tool for creating meaningful conversations and change. This book provides examples, facilitation notes, and handouts for workshops on brainstorming, collaboration, and action planning around civic engagement that will inspire librarians to think differently about how they foster those conversations. Peter Lang Group, 2020. 176 p. $45.05. PBK. 978-1-4331-7270-0. (Also available as an ebook.)

Book cover of Informed Societies: Why information literacy matters for citizenship, participation and democracyInformed Societies: Why Information Literacy Matters for Citizenship, Participation, and Democracy 
Edited by Stéphane Goldstein
Goldstein asserts that information literacy, the ability to critically analyze and evaluate information, empowers citizens with evidence-based perspectives while equipping them with the capability and confidence to navigate the abundance of information in their everyday life—some of which may not be factual and could even be harmful. With chapters authored by scholars from a variety of fields, such as psychology and public policy, this comprehensive book delves into the theory and practical applications of information literacy, providing readers with a profound understanding of how it contributes to a healthier democracy. Facet Publishing, 2020. 272 p. $101.99. PBK. 978-1-78330-422-6.

Book cover of Power to the Polls: A Guide to Developing Civic Learning, Election Engagement, and Political Action in Higher Education
Power to the Polls: A Guide to Developing Civic Learning, Election Engagement, and Political Action in Higher Education 

Edited by Marianne Magjuka
This collection of stories highlights different strategies that college administrators, faculty, and staff have used to promote learning about the democratic process on their campuses. Chapter authors showcase how faculty and staff have embraced their role in educating students on activism and creating collaborative spaces for it on campus—a transferable lesson for academic librarianship. Other library workers will find ways to equip their communities, particularly young people, with the necessary knowledge and skills to contribute to an informed and engaged society. Stylus Publishing, 2022. 267 p. $42.95. PBK. 978-1-6426-7405-7. (Also available as an ebook.)

Book cover of What Should We Do? A Theory of Civic LifeWhat Should We Do? A Theory of Civic Life 
By Peter Levine
Drawing from his research and examining the motivators and obstacles in social movements like the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Black Lives Matter, civic studies expert Peter Levine provides practical guidance on how to better understand the political participation and motivation of others, allowing readers to participate more meaningfully in civic discourse and action. What Should We Do? serves as a thoughtful reflection and lesson for library workers who are trying to understand their institutions’ role in larger collective action. Oxford University Press, 2022. 248 p. $29.95. 978-0-1975-7049-4. (Also available as an ebook.)


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