Contact: Anne-Marie Despain, Director of Library Services
San Mateo County Libraries
San Mateo, CA—San Mateo County Libraries are bringing people together for constructive dialogue in their new “Community Conversations” program. Every month, experts from different fields will come to the libraries to facilitate respectful discussions on challenging social issues, followed by a community-building activity.
This month, the Libraries are offering two programs. The first is a Constitution Teach-In and Apple Pie Potluck with Notre Dame de Namur University professor Stephen Cole, PhD, and a facilitated conversation by Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center staff. The second program, Follow the Bill, examines current public education legislation with San Mateo County Parent Teacher Association President Emily Sarver, who will share her tips and strategies for legislative advocacy, followed by a letter-writing party.
Supported through a State Library Grant, the idea for Community Conversations came out of the public’s reaction to the 2016 election when patrons came to local libraries seeking informational resources and a forum for healthy dialogue.
“Community Conversations involve a lot of trust, listening, and a shared commitment to learning and discovery,” said Anne-Marie Despain, San Mateo County Libraries Director, “we are very privileged to provide a space and forum where people of all views and backgrounds can come together.”
Future programs will cover topics ranging from housing and health care to immigration and the environment, with skilled facilitators in an inclusive, participatory format.
To learn more, visit the program’s web page.