ALA Unit/Subunit: ALA, ODLOS
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.
In this session, you will learn about the power of convening community members in courageous conversations on sensitive topics including diversity and equity concerns. Throughout the country, libraries offer welcoming, inclusive, as well as brave civic spaces conducive to democratic discourse. They are helping citizens of all ages and backgrounds work together to find common ground and solve critical public problems. Through such deliberative dialogue, citizens get to know each other, learn together, frame issues of common concern, deepen understanding, and connect across the spectrum of thought.
At the 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago, the ALA Council passed a resolution regarding libraries as responsible spaces. As part of the Committee on Diversity report, this resolution is in response to a documented increase in hate crimes occurring in libraries. The resolution calls for libraries to adopt and enforce user behavior policies that protect patrons and staff from harassment while maintaining ALA’s historic support for the freedom of speech. Libraries are encouraged to develop community partnership programs with and promote services to underrepresented and unacknowledged community members. Libraries are also encouraged to sponsor programs fostering meaningful and respectful dialogue in the community.
To that end, ALA’s Committee on Diversity, with the support of the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS), the Libraries Foster Community Engagement Membership Initiative Group (MIG), and the Diversity Membership Initiative Group (MIG) is developing materials and programming to assist libraries in creating responsible spaces. One aspect of responsible spaces is learning how to host and facilitate dialogues on sensitive topics. This program will feature training in facilitation for public programs and tips for hosting a successful dialogue event.