Over the next two days, directors of some of the most creative libraries in the U.S. and key civic leaders are sharing ways public libraries can help strengthen community engagement.
The Urban Libraries Partners for Success Conference 2011 brings together thought leaders in today’s civic engagement movement and young people who will shape the future of American communities.
“Civic engagement comes in many forms and libraries are at the top of the list of places where people can get involved,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez told the crowd as he helped open the conference. “Libraries contribute to a stronger sense of community and help produce solutions to local issues. I’m confident that will continue to hold true.”
Knight Foundation sat down with Susan Benton, president and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council to learn more about the connection between libraries and community engagement.
Q: What is the role that libraries play in developing community engagement?
S.B: Libraries are part of the natural infrastructure of the community. In many neighborhoods, we are the primary community asset and the place where people come together on a regular basis.
Q: In what kinds of ways do you see citizens interacting with their local libraries?