Last fall (Oct. 9, 2014), I gave the keynote at the Polaris Users Group meeting in Liverpool, NY. I am finally posting my keynote text (as written) here in four blog posts - four movements. Below is Movement 3.
By the way, I've added photos to these posts; however, I did not use any images or projected presentation in October.
In August, with schools delayed in Ferguson, Missouri one of the concerns quickly became the health of the students, who received meals at school. I want to mention hunger, because it is more prevalent than we think and hunger gets in the way of learning. We even have college students, who find themselves without food, and they rely on college or local food banks. There are have stories of adjunct professors, who are homeless. As a former corporate librarian, I can imagine that some of the workers that we interact with are homeless or living in meager conditions.
We generally focus on the problem that we want to focus on. For example, we focus on the fact that people are not digitally literate, because we know that is a problem and we're willing to focus on it. Can we also focus on more basic problems, knowing that if we can help people with some of the basics - like food - we can create fertile ground for other efforts?
I can hear your thoughts...Jill, we're librarians and there are some problems that we can't solve! Yes, we're librarians. We are also people who are trusted by our communities. Could we use that trust to help our communities in ways other than what we traditionally do?
Each of our communities has basic needs that are going unmet. Through conversations, anecdotal evidence, information from social services, or surveys, we can figure out what those needs are. Through our ability to collaborate, we can build relationships that can help to meet those needs. Take a moment and think about the people and organizations with whom you could collaborate. Remember that collaboration means that each party brings something to the table. Perhaps food isn't what you bring to the table, but there is something else that you can provide. For example, libraries are often located in areas that are easy to get to and have parking lots. Is it your location and exterior space that would be of value in a partnership?