Be a Community Presence

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Many immigrants report becoming connected with, and building trust in, the library through community contacts, children, and friends4, making it important for libraries to be a visible, engaged, and positive presence in their communities. This might mean showing up to community fairs, visiting schools, greeting people in grocery stores, serving on community boards, and other places where immigrant groups might be in your community. Our forum participants shared that this was a great way to learn about the work other organizations are doing with immigrant communities, get the library to participate and listen to community conversation, and start the longer term process of building trust with immigrant and refugee groups.

Learn more about how to be a positive community presence from these real life examples and other resources:

Example or Resource Short Description
Community-Led Libraries Toolkit This extensive toolkit, developed as part of the Working Together Project, covers a vast array of approaches to help libraries overcome barriers to service and establish better relationships with those who have been excluded. The Community Entry Tool is especially helpful for libraries when establishing themselves as a positive community presence.
Community Engagement: Serving Diverse Communities Where They Are, OCLC This ninety minute webinar helps introduce library staff to a variety of effective approaches to building community engagement and outreach. While not specifically focused on immigrant and refugee populations, many of the approaches presented are effective for building engagement with these groups.
The Messy and Vulnerable Truth about Trust and Museums, AAM Blog Through this blog post, multiple examples are given on how museums from across the country are building more community trust by being vulnerable, being present, and really listening to their communities. Presents takeaways for thinking about how to effective build community trust with groups that have had limited or bad interactions with museums previously - like some immigrant groups.