by Diana Laughlin, Program Services Supervisor
Marijuana might seem a unusual topic for Library programs. Yet the service goals behind Tuesday’s “411 on 420 Symposium” are not all that different than when Melvil Dewey was famously assigning decimals to books.
Whatever your personal stance on the issues, we invite you to attend all or a portion of the day. Click here to see the full day’s line-up and to register.
Democracy and libraries go hand in hand. Think back to a pre-Internet age, say thirty years ago. Whenever a question would come up for a vote, the local library was a helpful stop before Election Day.
There, you’d gather a stack of books to better inform your decision-making. And in a vertical-file drawer, a librarian would have created a file of newspapers clippings, with ‘pro’ and ‘con’ articles on the issues, which you could take to a table to study.
Simple and charming! Flash forward to the present, and our service goals are the same: to give you access to a variety of information sources. To connect you with trustworthy experts. To provide a safe and neutral space to ask questions.
In the Internet Age, these library services are more important than ever. That’s why, when the Special Election was announced, we set out to gather information for voters. That includes a December 3 human “vertical file” of expert presenters: a local physician, local health experts, and representatives from regional cannabis businesses.
The Library takes no stance. The Library makes no endorsement. Our presenters themselves may have opinions spanning a broad spectrum. Agree or disagree, we welcome participants to engage with them in a spirit of civic dialogue.
Drawing upon our unique service goals and setting, we feel it’s vital to convene a conversation on the topic. The Library, safe and neutral, is a logical place to host these community dialogues around local topics. In recent years, we’ve been building our capacity to do just that.
To not open our doors for informed community conversations would be to sidestep our service commitment to you. Participants have consistently told us they want more—not fewer—opportunities for participatory dialogue. Residents want their Library to remain an integral part of a healthy democracy, just like it’s been for more than a century.
Part of that responsibility means being nimble. Topics will come up in any given year that we may not have anticipated. But we will go where you need us to go.
We invite you to the presentations and conversations on December 3.
Your Library supports a literate community, helping voters and residents feel confident in their ability to make informed and thoughtful decisions.