For immediate release | April 10, 2012

ALA, Fetzer Institute join with Public Insight Network to expand Building Common Ground initiative

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office announced its collaboration with the Public Insight Network (PIN) from American Public Media to expand the reach of Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion, a library programming initiative supported by the Fetzer Institute. In December, ALA awarded 30 public libraries $2,500 grants in support of a multi-format discussion program for public audiences to spark action, engagement and reflection within the community. In order to seed public conversations of emerging community issues, PIN will seek public media partners and offer them similar grants to amplify and broaden the library’s discussions through their Building Common Ground programming.

More information about Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion, including programming resources and a list of participating public libraries, is available at

The goal of the Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion project is to engage the public in contemplation and discussion of the importance of community, civility and compassion in their daily lives. By bringing audiences together in the library for programs and events that include reading, viewing, reflection, discussion and civic engagement initiatives, Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion programs will support public libraries as they strive to enhance the quality of life and learning in their communities. By inviting public media partners in to participating library’s community conversations, PIN will compound the impact of participating Building Common Ground programs and provide local citizens the chance to become sources for public media and other PIN newsrooms around the country.

The Fetzer Institute is a private operating foundation based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Established by broadcast pioneer John E. Fetzer (1901-1991), the Institute works with an international team of advisors to create programs that foster awareness of the power that love and forgiveness can have in our world. With an endowment of more than $400 million, the Institute dedicates approximately $20 million annually toward its programming efforts.

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included Let’s Talk About It reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, LIVE! @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information about the ALA Public Programs Office, visit

Founded in 2003, American Public Media’s Public Insight Network is a platform for connecting trusted journalists with knowledgeable sources and for fostering journalistic excellence, innovation and collaboration. Through PIN, more than 130,000 sources inform reporting at 60 news organizations, through websites, social networks, blogs, surveys, virtual forums, serious games and face-to-face interactions. Sources’ demographic information and insights are stored in a secure, searchable database, allowing journalists to do smart, targeted crowd-sourcing; test hunches; identify trends; and support productions of major projects. Public Insight Network is funded, in part, by the Knight Foundation and a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. To learn more about American Public Media’s Public Insight Network, visit