PCL Receives National Grant for Small and Rural Libraries

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$3,000 grant will help the Library work with residents on the community read project: Placitas Reads: Color, Class, and Caste: The Other Social Distancing

Placitas Community Library was selected as one of 300 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 PCL will use to provide a series of events and conversations around the issues in the book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Dr. Isabel Wilkerson. These discussions and events will help to build mutual understanding and respect on a foundation of shared awareness of our history. We hope to do this through open dialogue around issues of race, class, and culture in our community and at large. We will provide a variety of options and experiences to increase community member’s access points to this discussion.

“I am so pleased our library will have this opportunity to engage our community in reading  Caste together,” said Library Director Mary Sue Houser. I am looking forward to coming together for meaningful conversation around this powerful book and its vitally important subject matter”.

As part of the grant, selected PCL staff will take an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Grant funds will be used to purchase a Zoom Business license in order for us to host virtual events and to partially fund several speakers and artists who will provide additional related content for our project and community conversations. These events and conversations will take place from May through October 2021.

The more we learn about the problems caused by societal disparity, including health care, life expectancy, depression, cultural and political effects, the better we understand the cost to each of us of this caste system in our culture.

Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has re-imagined 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 American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).”

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