DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Aug 13 2015

Libraries as Community Centers

by Arthur G

I’ll be honest–I’m not a fan of most library news stories. Too often, they revolve around buzz words and other vagaries, like how libraries can supposedly “reinvent themselves,” or “become relevant for the new century”–all the while not showing the slightest understanding of what libraries are and their place in the community. But writer Deborah Fallows over at The Atlantic has struck a cord in me with her spotlight on the Deschutes Public Library, a small, six-branch system in Central Oregon pioneering a creative formula based on extensive community partnerships and outreach.

This core of this idea isn’t news to me; DCPL branches have always acted as community centers, providing a myriad of different services across the county, including ESL and continuing education classes, free internet access for all, and simply being a safe and welcoming haven for the world weary. The Deschutes Library System and its director Todd Dinkelburg have taken this basic element in a decidedly more aggressive direction, sending out library staff in a web of partnerships that include over 60 community groups. The article itself is well written, with Fallows doing justice to the institution–and without recourse to clichéd buzz words. Catch the article here–-it’s well worth the read.

And if you’re itching for more of the latest by the good writers at The Atlantic, you can catch them on Zinio, our free eMagazine Library available online.

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