Improving and Expanding Conversations in the Community for Youth

Posted by Shelley Walchak on March 08, 2017 at 2:23 PM

Pine River Public Library, Pine River, CO

The Pine River Public Library is located in rural, Southwest Colorado, 20 miles east of Durango. The library district serves over 1,800 people in the small town of Bayfield plus an additional 6,500 in the surrounding areas.

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The Action Guide arrived at our library at the same time we were asked to hold a community forum on civic engagement for youth by the National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement. The goal of the organization is to improve youth civic health and offer opportunities for civic life for young people. My first thoughts for using the Action Guide were for upcoming strategic planning, but I found it was a perfect guide for smaller, more focused projects as well.

The Action Guide helped us plan a meeting that engaged over 30 community leaders, teachers, students and citizens in a discussion about how to inspire our youth to become more involved in civic affairs. This event gave us the opportunity to serve the public and showcase the library’s assets – its people, place and platform. Instead of talking about what libraries can do – we actually did it!

The Action Guide provided direction on how to instigate philosophical discussions about re-envisioning libraries, but it also provided practical steps on how to plan and convene a public dialogue. From invitations and talking points to promotion and sample news releases, the guide assists libraries in aligning its services to support the goals of our community.

The community forum was a great success bringing together ideas on how to engage our youth. With the Mayor and School Superintendent present, we actually took several steps forward with plans to work with our youth. The guide was both an inspiration and a practical resource.

Shelley Walchak
Director
Pine River Library
shelley@prlibrary.org