Libraries Foster Social Connection: Responding to the Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation
Explore ways to intentionally design for social connection in library services and programs.
Libraries can play a vital role in building social cohesion and promoting community resilience, especially in challenging times. The Surgeon General’s 2023 Advisory on Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation brings even greater urgency to the need for us to connect. This engaging session will explore ways to intentionally design for social connection in library services and programs, from passive to hosted. These innovative and practical strategies can deepen engagement with staff, trustees, local officials, volunteers, and community members of all ages and backgrounds. Through the lens of "social connector," we will explore how libraries can invite the community in with intention, build relationships that enhance social infrastructure, put community at the center of the library, and demonstrate the library’s impact.
Strengthening social cohesion can be accomplished in ways that adapt to libraries of all sizes and budgets. Engagement strategies can support many facets of library work, from strategic planning and community assessment to programming and partnerships. The strategies are highly scalable – you can start small, build skills, and maintain flexibility.
Presented by: Brooke Doyle, Senior Project Coordinator, OCLC; and Jennifer Peterson, WebJunction Community Manager, OCLC
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- Session Resources and Action Guide (doc) from ARSL session. Use alone or with others to extend your learning.
- A version of this session was presented at the 2023 ARSL Conference. Learn more: WebJunction at the Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference
- Surgeon General’s 2023 Advisory on Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation
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