The September Project Blog

Come here to learn about the goings-on of The September Project, a grassroots effort to foster public events in all communities on September 11.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

hooray 4 ALA! day one in chicago

Today we went to a great program called Fostering Civic Engagement: Models and Practices for All Libraries. One impressive panelist (out of many) was Nancy Tessman, Director of The Salt Lake City Public Library System.

Nancy spoke eloquently about her library, from the conception to the foundation, to its fruition. As she told her story, I mentally scheduled a trip to Salt Lake City just to spend some time in her library. It sounds like a marvelous place.

Nancy is dedicated to building community. She spoke not of bringing people to the table, but of owning the table. It's a powerful image, one that further defines the library as a community center, as a place for all community members to be a part in shaping. Her library invites everyone to to be creative about how they see this building entering into their lives. Beyond other more traditional uses, she offered examples of libraries being a place for play, such as hosting weddings, dances, and cultural celebrations, like a public break of fast for Ramadan. Nancy spoke of being flexible and open to new ideas, new programs, and new ways to use the library as place.

This the type of place I love hearing about -- and visiting!


At June 29, 2005 4:13 PM, Blogger Ivan Chew said...

She spoke not of bringing people to the table, but of owning the table.
You said it -- a powerful image indeed.

At June 29, 2005 4:25 PM, Blogger david silver said...

indeed. she also told a story about the building of their new library. before it was built, there was a pile of rocks (in the library?) collected. people were asked to write directly on the rocks what they want their new library to be. the rocks were collected and displayed to the public. then the rocks were placed directly into the foundation of the new library as it was being built. people's wishes become part of the library. yes.

At August 02, 2005 2:33 PM, Blogger i said...

this is an excellent idea! people not only get to express themselves, but their thoughts are literally "set in stone" and built into the foundation.


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