3 Ways Libraries Can Channel Understanding in Confusing Times

As individuals and communities react to conflict in the world, we’re reminded of the ways in which libraries often serve as a sanctuary for those looking for physical or emotional safety. But unfortunately, even the committed and welcoming staff who keep libraries open are subjected to intolerance and narrow-mindedness. We recently learned through a post on Facebook of such an exchange between a patron and a librarian at a branch of the Upper Darby Libraries in Pennsylvania. The library director shared this post to inform the community of the incident, and not surprisingly, the post now has numerous comments of support and hundreds of shares. As we reflect on ways to ensure staff and patron safety, whether through policies or strengthened relationships with community members and leaders, we began to brainstorm resources and strategies for libraries to channel intelligent and compassionate understanding in our communities. We’ve collected examples within three avenues to explore related to collections, programming, and skills development.

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