Region Head (Central), Public Library Services at National Library Board, Singapore
The International Papers and Projects Program provides librarians with an opportunity to exchange information about library services, collections and projects throughout the world. The program also serves to stimulate the interest of U.S. librarians in international library matters. The 2021 International Papers and Projects theme is: Strengthening Societies: Libraries as Critical Institutions in Helping Communities Manage Change. This session is NOT about COVID-19. A pandemic is just one (albeit a very challenging one) scenario that can affect the fabric of society. Natural disasters, economic downturns, political instability, violence, etc., can all cause collective trauma. What this session explores is the role of libraries in keeping their communities strong and resilient, from disaster recovery, stepping up to address inequality, providing social and mental support, facilitating conversations and actions, whether it is social justice or bridging understanding, all the way to preparing for longer term changes in the way we deliver services and content. COVID-19 has brought about unprecedented change globally, impacting the lives of millions of people, necessitating new ways of interacting, learning, working, as well as how we conduct economic exchanges. Some of the changes were revolutionary—cultural shifts, such as the pace of the digital migration, while others were mind-set changes—working from home as viable option, home-based-learning, and more. Such great changes in a compressed timeframe can create immense pressure on communities destabilizing them and resulting in collective trauma experienced by all members of the community as they navigate the impact of those changes. Speakers will share on international and US library projects and issues relating to how their library has played an active role in strengthening the communities they serve. Possible topics relating to this theme may include-but are not limited to: • Libraries addressing the digital divide as more services are offered virtually, in particular education, where students may not be ready to learn/or have the tools to learn on a virtual platform • Libraries providing technical support to individuals who must learn how to work from home • Libraries as community support structure, from disaster recovery to initiatives that improve community resilience, mental wellness, and the ability to handle disruptions • Access to libraries and critical services libraries support when the physical location is not accessible (whether closed or hampered by great distances) • Libraries supporting social justice and/or addressing social/cultural fractures within the community • Staff training and competencies required to address the above issues and/or administrative and financial strategies to manage sudden change in priorities
Upon completion, participants will acquire new ideas on how to support their own communities facing possible disruptions, such as pandemics, natural disasters, or economic downturns.
Upon completion, participants will be able to identify what resources (financial, technological, human) may be needed in order to support a community in crisis
Upon completion, participants will be able (if they choose) to connect with the speakers and share experiences of their own libraries in supporting communities in crisis.