Holding Space: A national conversation series with libraries

"Holding Space: A national conversation series with libraries" is the American Library Association’s nationwide virtual tour to highlight the innovation and impact of a diverse range of libraries and engage stakeholders to advocate for libraries and the communities they serve.

A part of ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr.’s broader work to build relationships and strengthen connections, Holding Space will feature town halls, round table discussions and interviews with library leaders, state and local partners, and elected officials covering topics ranging from HBCUs and academic libraries, to school, tribal, and public libraries—all while amplifying the concerns of each community along the route.

You can visit more than a dozen libraries and the communities they serve over the course of ten days with Julius Jefferson. The tour kicks off on July 27, 2020 from the Library of Congress and winds its way across the country to Oakland, CA, on August 7, 2020.  Each stop of the tour will be broadcast via Zoom and available on YouTube after the conclusion of the tour so members can join in the conversation. Register for tour events below and sign up to receive updates about the tour.

You can view all videos from the tour on our YouTube channel


“Libraries are—and have always been—community anchors, addressing challenges in times of peace and in times of crisis. When I was elected ALA President I knew I wanted to shine a light on programs and communities that don’t get the attention they deserve, and this virtual format allows us to critically examine our cultural moment through the lens of the most pressing issues in our profession.”

— ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr.


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[ Letters from the Road ]


Letters from the Road - Closing Celebration

Closing celebration-Spirit of Aloha: Hawaii Libraries Light the Path, August 7, 2020, Honolulu, Hawaii, Holding Space: A  national conversation with libraries

Aloha from Hawaii,

For the last stop on our 12-stop virtual tour, through the magic of technology, our bus hopped the ocean and stopped at the Hawaii State Public Library

We were joined on our grand finale of the Holding Space tour by legislators in Hawaii who are champions for libraries for a discussion entitled “Spirit of Aloha: Hawaii Libraries Light the Path.” We also heard about the thriving Hawaiian library ecosystem, as we talked with rising library leaders in the state, who shared their thoughts and vision about the future of librarianship. 

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Letters from the Road - Day 10

Listen to the Kids: Youth- and Family-Centered Practices at Oakland Public Library August 7, 2020 Oakland, CA, Holding Space: A national conversation with libraries

Hello from Oakland.

Today was the last day of our virtual bus tour and we covered a lot of ground, making two stops in two states, and even crossing the Pacific Ocean to visit Hawaii.

Our first stop was at the Oakland Public Library, where we learned how the library is embracing its community and empowering youth by encouraging literary expression.

We were joined by several of Oakland’s Youth Poet Laureate finalists, whose names you will be hearing. They are proof that our youth are not our future, they are our present. They are this moment.  

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Letters from the Road - Day 9

ALA Holding Space, a national conversation with libraries. August 6: Learn and Earn: Nevada Libraries Harness Virtual 3-D for Education and Careers, Carson City, NV

Hello, from Carson City, Nevada.

Our bus traveled to the Nevada State Library, where we took a deep dive into the world of virtual reality and how libraries are using this technology to train the workforce of tomorrow.

I met with librarians across institutions as well as partners and stakeholders to illustrate the importance of partnerships as libraries confront the current economic challenges faced by so many Nevada residents.  

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Letters from the Road - Day 8

ALA Holding Space, a national conversation with libraries. August 5: From Interior to Border: Libraries Reaching Rural Communities, Cordes Lakes, AZ

Hello from Cordes Lakes, Arizona.

Continuing its westward journey, our bus traveled to the Cordes Lakes Library for an important discussion, “From Interior to Border: Libraries Reaching Rural Communities,” of the rural library’s unique role in keeping residents connected and cultivating community relationships.

Libraries are essential in rural areas like Cordes Lakes, where the library has seen a 60-percent increase in the number of visits. It is so heavily used that an expansion was necessary.

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Letters from the Road - Day 7

ALA Holding Space, a national conversation with libraries. August 4: THe Imperative of Broadband for Tribal Libraries,, Santo Domingo, NM

Greetings from Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico,

Today our bus took us to the Jemez Pueblo Community Library, where we learned about the need for broadband in tribal communities.

Residents in these communities often lack high-capacity broadband service. Cutting people off from information, education, and work. In this time of COVID-19, people are impacted by lack of access to everything from telehealth to distance learning. It even affects matters of life and death, with the ability to use the amber alert system.

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Letters from the Road - Day 6

ALA Holding Space, a national conversation with libraries. August 3: Partnering to Advance Career and Workforce Development, Norman, Oklahoma

Hello from Norman, Oklahoma!

Today, our bus traveled to Oklahoma to visit the Pioneer Library System in Oklahoma, where we learned about the critical work of libraries in promoting workforce development.

I was pleased to learn about the incredible ways this library system has connected with its community. Pioneer is a superb example of how libraries are catalysts for economic opportunity and progress in their communities.

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Letters from the Road - Day 5

Hello from Lubbock, Texas.

Today I met with a group of dynamic school library professionals and discussed the indispensable contributions of school librarians in Lubbock, Texas and throughout the state.

As one of the largest states by size and population, Texas school libraries are at the heart of a vast and diverse network of schools. They are providing an invaluable service during these challenging times. I appreciate what the librarians of Texas are doing for their communities.

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Letters from the Road - Day 4

Holding Space: Strengthening Communities and Developing Leaders at HBCU Libraries

Hello from Pine Bluff,

Today I had the pleasure of hosting a town hall at the John Brown Watson Memorial Library at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, spotlighting the significant role of Historically Black College and University Libraries (HBCU) in shaping the future of libraries, students, and developing the library leaders of tomorrow.

For today’s discussion entitled “Strengthening Communities and Developing Leaders at HBCU Libraries,” we were joined by an esteemed group of leaders, activists, and legends in librarianship.

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Letters from the Road - Day 3

Holding Space - Leveraging Place to Engage Community

Hello from Nashville,

Today I had the honor of speaking with Nashville Public Library Director Kent Oliver and the library’s Civil Rights and Votes for Women Rooms Director Andrea Blackman.

This was an opportunity to continue a face-to-face conversation that we began pre-pandemic regarding how libraries bring communities together to learn about the past, confront the present, and envision a better future. I appreciated the hospitality I encountered, so much that it was very difficult to leave. 

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Letters from the Road - Day 2

ALA Holding Space Graphic

Hello from the road,

Today I had the honor of speaking with library professionals in Zanesville, Ohio who are diligently working to ensure that rural communities have broadband access.  

Prior to the pandemic, the Muskingum County Library played a key role in bridging the Digital Divide by responding to challenges surrounding community connectivity. During the pandemic, local libraries continue to serve as a lifeline for the more than 30 percent of residents without internet access. About 78 percent of surrounding rural areas are unable to access the internet regularly due to issues of accessibility and/or affordability.

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Letters from the Road - Day 1

Hello from the road,

Today was the first step towards highlighting the significant contributions of our nation’s libraries and library workers, with the launch of “Holding Space: a national conversation series with libraries.” 

This week and next, I will pay virtual visits to 12 libraries in 10 days. Libraries of all types in Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, and California are on our Zoom roadmap.

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[ TOUR EVENTS ]


JULY 27: Tour kick-off from the Library of Congress

Library of Congress, Washington, DC

JULY 27: Stronger Together for Workforce Development

Cambria County Library, PA
Cohosted by the Pennsylvania Library Association

July 28: Keeping Communities Connected in Ohio and Beyond

Muskingum County Library, OH
Cohosted by the Ohio Library Council

July 29: Leveraging Place to Engage Community

Nashville Public Library, TN
Cohosted by the Tennessee Library Association

July 30: Strengthening Communities and Developing Leaders at HBCU Libraries

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, AR
Cohosted by the Arkansas Library Association and Black Caucus of the ALA

July 31: Learning in Many Dimensions with Texas School Librarians

Lubbock ISD, TX
Cohosted by the Texas Library Association and Texas Association of School Librarians

August 3: Partnering to Advance Career and Workforce Development

Pioneer Library System, OK
Cohosted by the Oklahoma Library Association

August 4: The Imperative of Broadband for Tribal Libraries

Jemez Pueblo, NM
Cohosted by New Mexico State Library and American Indian Library Association

August 5: From Interior to Border: Libraries Reaching Rural Communities

Cordes Lakes Public Library, AZ
Cohosted by the Arizona Library Association

August 6: Learn and Earn: Nevada Libraries Harness Virtual 3-D for Education and Careers

Nevada State Library, NV
Cohosted by the Nevada State Library and the Nevada Library Association

August 7: Listen to the Kids: Youth- and Family-Centered Practices at Oakland Public Library

Oakland Public Library, CA
Cohosted by the California Library Association

August 7: Closing Celebration-Spirit of Aloha: Hawaii Libraries Light the Path Celebration in Hawaii

Hawaii State Library
Cohosted by Hawaii Library Association and Hawaii State Library

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[ RECORDED VIDEOS]


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[ MEDIA COVERAGE ]


[ PROMOTIONAL TOOLS ]


Help spread the word about Holding Space, ALA President Julius C. Jefferson's nationwide virtual tour to highlight the innovation and impact of a diverse range of libraries and engage stakeholders to advocate for libraries and the communities they serve. Post to your social media networks using the hashtag #ALAHoldingSpace.

Questions? Email holdingspace@ala.org.

Sample Social Media Posts

Twitter/Instagram

ALA President @jcjeffersonjr's nationwide virtual library tour kicks off from @librarycongress on July 27! Learn more and sign up to receive updates: https://bit.ly/ala-holding-space
#ALAHoldingSpace

Excited to hear about ALA President @jcjeffersonjr’s plans to build relationships and strengthen connections with a nationwide virtual tour of libraries! https://bit.ly/ala-holding-space
#ALAHoldingSpace

Facebook

ALA President @juliuscjeffersonjr's nationwide virtual library tour kicks off from the @librarycongress on July 27! Learn more and sign up to receive updates: https://bit.ly/ala-holding-space
#ALAHoldingSpace

    Facebook share | Instagram share | Twitter share

    Twitter share: Holding Space: A national conversation with libraries. The virtual tour kicks off July 27 from the Library of Congress. #ALAHoldingSpace American Library Association

    ALA President Julius Jefferson, Jr’s social media accounts:

    Promote a Stop on the Tour

    July 27: Tour kickoff-Holding Space: A National Conversation Series with Libraries, Washington, DC

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    July 27: Stronger Together for Workforce Development, Johnstown, PA

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    July 28: Keeping Communities Connected in Ohio and Beyond, Zanesville, OH

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    July 29: Leveraging Place to Engage Community, Nashville, TN

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    July 30: Communities and Developing Leaders at HBCU Libraries, Pine Bluff, AR

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    July 31: Learning in Many Dimensions with Texas School Librarians, Lubbock, TX

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    August 3: Partnering to Advance Career and Workforce Development, Norman, OK

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    August 4: The Imperative of Broadband for Tribal Libraries, Santo Domingo, NM

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    August 5: From Interior to Border: Libraries Reaching Rural Communities, Cordes Lake, AZ

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    August 6: Learn and Earn: Nevada Libraries Harness Virtual 3-D for Education and Careers, Carson City, NV

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    August 7: Listen to the Kids: Youth- and Family-Centered Practices at Oakland Public Library, Oakland, CA

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    August 7: Closing celebration-Spirit of Aloha: Hawaii Libraries Light the Path, Honolulu,HI

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    Facebook share:  Stronger Together for Workforce Development July 27, 2020 Johnstown, PA

    Twitter share: Strengthening Communities and Developing Leaders at HBCU Libraries July 30, 2020 Pine Bluff, AR

    Instagram share: Learn and Earn: Nevada Libraries Harness Virtual 3-D for Education and Careers August 6, 2020	 Carson City, NV

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