We are so excited to introduce (or reintroduce) you to the Librarians Build Communities program. Librarians Build Communities (LBC) started in New Orleans at the 2006 American Library Association’s Annual Conference. Librarians volunteered their time to help rebuild the community in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The event was so successful that participants asked for more opportunities to help.
LBC is based on the idea that librarians have a wealth of skills to offer our local communities. Skills-based volunteering not only benefits the libraries and other organizations that receive assistance, but it also gives librarians an opportunity to interact with their patrons and future patrons outside the library space. It forges new connections that strengthen the community. It’s library advocacy at its grass-roots best!
There are many ways that library workers’ skills can be put into action in the community. For example, those with library experience could:
● lend their YA expertise at a Boys and Girls Club or a local youth shelter
● use community programming experience to help organize a fundraiser for the local Humane Society
● put IT skills into action by teaching computer classes at a senior center
There are a couple of different models for hosting Librarians Build Communities in your area:
· A state- or local-level librarian volunteer day.
· A dispersed librarian volunteer day, perhaps state-wide.
· An ongoing program, where community organizations can ask for librarian-volunteers, and they’re matched up.
To help you create a successful event, we’ve even created a toolkit that can be adapted to meet your needs. Visit http://www.librariansbuildcommunities.com/ to download the toolkit and get more project ideas. In addition, our team of Emerging Leaders is able to offer extra support to volunteer projects offered through LBC this spring. If you’re interested in coordinating an event before June, please contact Sara Zettervall, Team F Project Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org), and she will help connect you with the group.
We encourage you to keep LBC in mind over time as you find yourself planning conference projects or looking for volunteers, and feel free to reach out with your questions and ideas.
2014 Emerging Leaders Team F
Librarians Build Communities
Sara Zettervall, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN – Project Manager
Brian Hart, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, NC
Aaron LaFromboise, Medicine Spring Library, Blackfeet Community College, Browning, MT
Lynette Roberson, Dallas Public Library, Dallas, TX
Morgan Sohl, Driftwood Public Library, Lincoln City, OR
Lindsey Taggart, Forest Institute of Professional Psychology, Springfield, MO