Longwood University’s Greenwood Library has been selected as one of 200 libraries to participate in Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that helps library workers better serve their small and rural communities.
The competitive award comes with a $3,000 grant that will help the library launch a yearlong reading challenge, Southside Reads. Each month features a different theme. With the goal of sparking vibrant and diverse virtual discussions, participants can read any book that fits the theme. January’s challenge is to read a book with a number in the title.
We look forward to bringing community members together and connecting through rich discussions of books and ideas.Dr. Brent Roberts, Greenwood Library dean Tweet This
“It is an honor to be selected for this grant,” said Dr. Brent Roberts, Greenwood Library dean. “We look forward to bringing community members together and connecting through rich discussions of books and ideas.”
As part of the grant, Greenwood Library staff will take an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Staff will then host monthly discussions with residents about the books read for each month’s theme and use the grant funds to sponsor special events.
This month’s virtual book discussion will be held Thursday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. via Zoom. Register to participate on the Southside Reads website. The website also has each month’s theme and suggested books for various age groups. February’s challenge will focus on relationships, romantic or otherwise.
After the success of the NEA Big Read, Greenwood Library is excited to continue community conversations through shared reading experiences, Roberts said. Echoing Longwood’s deep commitment to diversity and equity, participants are encouraged to read books written by or about someone different from themselves. The conversations that will arise through discussing these various books will help to expand readers’ understanding of the different voices that make up their community.
More than 300 libraries applied for the grant, according to ALA.
Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has reimagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff. Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is an initiative of the ALA in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).