For immediate release | September 27, 2011

ALA, Fetzer Institute announce Building Common Ground initiative

Public libraries invited to apply by Nov. 18 to receive $2,500 grant and programming resources

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office is accepting applications for Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion, a multi-format discussion program for public audiences to spark action, engagement and reflection within the community. This library programming initiative is supported by the Fetzer Institute. More information, including programming resources and the online application, is available at www.ala.org/commonground. Applications are due Nov. 18, 2011.

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 adult 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.

In December, 30 public libraries around the country will be selected to host a series of 4 to 8 events between Feb. 1, 2012 and Nov. 30, 2012. The selected libraries will receive:

  • A $2,500 grant to support program-related expenses.
  • Access to program models and templates, including recommended reading and viewing lists, discussion facilitation guides, video shorts and more.
  • Access to a series of online, professional development and project resource sessions.
  • Promotional materials, including posters, bookmarks and a selection of digital promotion tools to support local audience recruitment.

Resources to begin building a competitive application, including programming guides, a list of potential community partners and ideas for programming that will inspire the community to action, engagement and reflection are available at www.ala.org/commonground.

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 www.ProgrammingLibrarian.org, 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 www.ala.org/publicprograms.

Contact:

Angela Thullen