How can libraries build caring communities?
Libraries of all types are taking on new roles and responsibilities. Through robust programming agendas, they’re at the center of community-building efforts all across the US. As part of the National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment (NILPPA), Knology sat down with advisors from across the library sector to discuss the impacts libraries aim to have on the communities they serve. During these discussions, we also brainstormed ways to track these impacts across various domains of community life. Two important ideas emerged from our conversations:
- Impact Domains
Specific areas where library programs can make meaningful differences in people’s lives. We defined nine of these. Libraries can help create: (1) connected communities; (2) knowledgeable communities; (3) creative communities; (4) civically engaged communities; (5) healthy communities; (6) economically vital communities; (7) welcoming communities; (8) joyful communities; (9) caring communities.
Ways of measuring the real-world impact of library programming. These Indicators allow us to determine whether or not programs are having their intended effects.
In this series of blog posts, we’d like to talk about each of these impact domains individually, and talk about how libraries are contributing to each of them. In this post, we focus on caring communities.
What are Caring Communities?
A caring community is one that provides support to those in need, and whose members treat one another with compassion and empathy. Caring communities promote prosocial values and behaviors, and help people make commitments to each other in ways that lead to interpersonal awareness and mutual helping. They also foster a sense of social responsibility, especially for the most vulnerable community members. Libraries can help build caring communities by creating spaces that allow for cooperative learning and group collaboration, and by developing programs that foster kindness, justice, tolerance, considerateness, and concern for others.Read more and comment