Collections, Programs and Services
Recognizing the importance of addressing the needs and interests of traditionally marginalized and underserved groups who may be less likely to access library services if they don’t see themselves represented in programs and collections, Ames Public Library in Ames, Iowa began intentionally developing programming that meets goals outlined in our strategic plan: to be a space for community engagement and connections and to curate responsive collections and programs that reflect the diversity of our community.
We believe that inclusive programming achieves several objectives: it brings new users into the library; provides a venue for people who may not have other safe community spaces in which to explore their interests; brings visibility to minority populations; strengthens relationships with other community organizations; creates dialogue and engagement between diverse community members; and provides the opportunity to better understand life experiences and interests outside one’s own.
Programs we have offered this past year targeted all or specific age groups and were developed exclusively by library staff or in partnership with other organizations. TalkRACE, a day-long event featuring panels, sessions, and a presentation by young adult author Kekla Magoon encouraged conversations about race and racism and how these affect people on local and national-levels. The books “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and “How it Went Down” by Magoon were used to guide discussion, and the event was organized by the library in partnership with several organizations, including the local chapter of the NAACP. TalkRACE was hosted in advance of an author event, co-sponsored by the library’s Friends Foundation, featuring Coates at Iowa State University. Programs for families include a drag show during which patrons of all ages were invited to enjoy professional drag performances, as well as perform themselves; a teens-only drag performer roundtable; Ramadan storytime that kicked off Summer Reading; and partnerships with Planned Parenthood to offer sexual health classes for LGBTQIA teens and a local LGBTQIA nonprofit to host our community’s first Pride festival.
This poster session will detail the development and implementation of these programs and will include photos, examples of community feedback, and the library’s response to criticism.