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Civic Engagement: Building Strong Communities OLA SuperConference Wednesday, January, 28, 2015.

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Presentation on theme: "Civic Engagement: Building Strong Communities OLA SuperConference Wednesday, January, 28, 2015."— Presentation transcript:

1 Civic Engagement: Building Strong Communities OLA SuperConference Wednesday, January, 28, 2015

2 Toronto Public Library’s Strategic Plan 2012-2015 Priority Area: “Develop a City of Learners: Support lifelong learning as fundamental to economic prosperity, social cohesion, and civic engagement.”.

3 Toronto Public Library Community Outreach and Engagement Committee Workplan 2014: Objective – “Create opportunities for residents to build their capacity for civic engagement.” Tactic – “Develop an informed staff.” Action – “Provide staff training re: civic engagement and provide staff with potential community contacts related to civic engagement.”

4 What is Civic Engagement? Urban Libraries Council definition: “…deliberate, consistent, and purposeful outreach that creates an environment in which people of all ages and from all backgrounds believe they have a voice and a role in decisions and actions that affect their lives. It includes volunteering, voting, participating in civic and social organizations, engaging in public discussions, connecting with community and government decision makers, running for public office, and caring about and working to make a difference in the places people call home.”.

5 Why are Citizen’s not Engaged? Dave Meslin – Community Activist TED Talk : The Antidote to Apathy Exhibit: The Fourth Wall Available for booking through Dave. Contact Dave Meslin National Speakers Bureau

6 Why Civic Engagement? Studies show that: “engaged and empowered citizens generate optimism, produce good decisions…and contribute to economic success. Communities thrive when residents feel that their voices are heard, their opinions matter and their leaders are listening.”.

7 Why Libraries can promote and enable Civic Engagement. Libraries are trusted institutions that have withstood the test of time. enjoy a place at the heart of every community. are seen to be truly democratic. have resources such as physical space, technology and knowledgeable staff. have established relationships with many community groups..

8 Five Leadership Roles for Libraries Libraries should be: Civic educators. Conversation starters. Community bridges. Visionaries. Centres for democracy in action..

9 Four Strategies Make civic engagement a priority. Show up – be visible in the community. Encourage and expect staff to engage outside of the library. Identify opportunities to make a difference in the community..

10 Maintain the Library’s Neutrality The library must not have an agenda. The Library must not offer answers or take positions on public policy. Select presenters who represent a variety of view points. Our reputation as apolitical, nonpartisan, neutral and welcoming strengthens our position of influence..

11 Build Civic Engagement Skills Staff need to be informed and trained to listen and engage so that they can get to the heart of community needs and support conversations and problem-solving sessions in the library and the neighbourhoods they visit. Develop workshops and encourage attendance at events both in the library and in the community.

12 Civic Action

13 What is a community? What defines your community?.

14 Civic Action What is a public space? What is missing in your community?.

15 Civic Action What do you love about your community? What is your dream for your community?.

16 Community Action Explore your dreams: Which ones are possible? What are some of the potential challenges? Are there any that can be combined?.

17 Community Action One common dream: Come up with one idea that your group can agree on How would it work? What resources would you need to make it a reality? Are there community organizations that you could partner with?.

18 Our Experience


20 What do you want in your community?



23 23

24 24 http:// /

25 Thank You Denise Gordon Larysa Jenny

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