Programming for Purpose

After our on-campus weekend, I thought a lot about what it means to have a meaningful program at your school or library.  While we need lots of programs that are high interest, timely, and "cool" to draw the young it, I also think we should think about programming that helps develop the idea of civic participation amongst our young users.

The public library in Oak Park, IL has launched a community service program for elementary aged students.  They have partnered with a local aid organization and created events that only take about an hour to complete, the young patrons learn about a community need and do some type of project to help with that need.  Here is a link to read about the program and see a calendar of events:

I believe whole-heartedly that a library is a "public good."  In the age of budget cuts and seemingly endless attacks on "public" institutions, I think that this is an excellent opportunity to show the worth of a public library.  If libraries serve as a center of community services, no one can deny how essential it is to the betterment and survival of a community--not matter how "in need" or "un-needy" that community is.  I don't know if I said that very eloquently, but I hope it makes sense.

Do you have ideas about how to have community service events in conjunction with library programming? I'd love to hear about them!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Laine! I love this post because community service is so important. I really admire Oak Park's program that you posted because it's a great way to get kids involved in a small amount of time. We have a lot of tween and teen volunteers who come in and need to do just an hour or two a quarter. This would be a fantastic way to have kids make a difference while they earn community service credit hours in a way that would be more fun than just dusting shelves (necessary, but boring).

    We have a unique community service program that happens at the library. One of our teen volunteers and Teen Advisory Board members created an organization called Cards for Hospitalized Kids. We have an event (for 9th-12th graders at the moment) once a month where teens get together to make cards for kids who are in the hospital.

    Jen started this program because she's been in the hospital many times and she knows how getting a card in the mail can cheer you up. It's a simple way for teens to brighten the day of someone they've never met but who will appreciate the small gesture.

    If you want to learn more (or make cards yourself!) here's her website:


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