Guest Blogger

Inclusive 21st Century Communities #PLA 2022

The Neuse Regional Libraries Team presented their approach to building an inclusive community centering around four key programs:

  • STEM 4 All
  • cultural experiences using VR technology
  • a social work intern program
  • a series of community discussions culminating in a Juneteenth celebration

All of these programs create key community partnerships and meet unique community needs.

I was very interested in STEM 4 All, a program engaging students within the local housing authority giving them access to engaging STEM activities, speakers and homework help. I’m always looking for ways to meet community needs while creating impactful relationships with students. Sharon Mervin noted that students participating in the program had increased confidence in STEM subjects. Mervin attributed much of that success to the relationship building that occurred. Often kids need to be told they are capable and their futures are bright. The program expanded to other libraries within the system with some changes to reflect individual community needs.

A final thought Mervin left me with in closing was, “don’t forget why you do what you do” as slides of smiling young faces looked back at us. Outreach programs present unique challenges and opportunities, but the connections we create are always worth it.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

Guest conference blogger Anne Price (she/her/hers) started as the Children’s Librarian for the North Platte Public Library in Nebraska in November 2021. For the last 7 years, she’s worked in youth services in public libraries in Wyoming and New Mexico. She is attending the 2022 PLA Conference live in Portland and is most looking forward to the sessions geared toward community partnerships and outreach. Her favorite conference snack is Cheez-Its with a Diet Dr. Pepper.

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