Social Library, Community Conversations and the Opioid Crisis
In this special edition of the Social Library series, we’re taking a look at examples from libraries that have hosted community discussions related to the opioid crisis. These libraries have partnered with local or state agencies, or with editors and authors of books on this important and impactful topic. As we continue research for our project, Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Crisis with Their Communities, in collaboration with the Public Library Association, we look forward to sharing more about the important role libraries are playing in response to the crisis. If you'd like to see your library featured in an upcoming edition or have examples of your work in this area, please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org or in the public group on Facebook, Libraries and the Opioid Crisis.
- Gates Public Library of the Monroe County Library System in New York hosted The Opioid Crisis: a Community Discussion, as part of a series of community discussions held in 2017, in collaboration with multiple local agencies, at three different library locations. "We invite everyone to take part in this informative discussion that includes panelists from local law enforcement, experts in physiology and psychology, and advocates of the addiction community to come together and learn about what it is that is happening and what we can do together to be proactive members of the community...Each panelist will share the challenges they face within their field, what they're doing to address these challenges, and what changes they'd like to see happening in their communities." Learn more about this library's response to the crisis in a feature on WebJunction.
- Scripps Miramar Ranch Library in California recently hosted Community Conversation on the Opioid Epidemic, an in-person interview with Sherrie Rubin, founder of Hope2gether Foundation, and Kinsee Morlan, KPBS podcast producer, followed by a facilitated conversation about the opioid epidemic, led by the National Conflict Resolution Center. The "Community Heroes" series honors individuals who give selflessly to build civility and community in San Diego.
- Euclid Public Library and Mentor Public Library in Ohio recently hosted public forums, Opioid Discussion and Stories of Opioids & Ohio: What Children Need, with the co-editors of a new book, Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio, which puts a human face on the epidemic by sharing first-person accounts of Ohioans from 20 counties. In an article in the local News-Herald, we learned that the Ohio Humanities Council is funding the community conversations hosted by the editors, who explain that "one of the things we were committed to all along was not just to publish a book, but also to get out into communities and have conversations."
- Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana hosted a community discussion on The Opioid Crisis last year, with a representative from the Louisiana Department of Justice. Billed as Opioid Crisis 101 in the local press, the session included a presentation on the history of opioids, how they work, common prescriptions and their effects.
- East Providence Public Library in Rhode Island, in collaboration with the East Providence Prevention Coalition, sponsored The Opioid Crisis: We Need to Talk, with Maureen Cavanagh, author of If You Love Me: A Mother’s Journey Through Her Daughter’s Opioid Addiction.
As you consider ways to engage your community in discussions around the topic of the opioid crisis, consider upcoming health observances in August and September. August 31 is recognized as International Overdose Awareness Day (see also on Facebook), and this September marks the 30th anniversary of National Recovery Month (see also on Facebook). We hope you consider connecting with local partners to plan a local discussion on this important topic.