Dallas Public Library to host community event forum
Nearly a half century ago, Dallas Libraries were focal points and meeting places for growing neighborhoods. This history continues today as these libraries are known as diverse community centers and safe places for people to exchange ideas and perspectives.
The Dallas Public Library is continuing its Homeless Engagement Initiative and encouraging community understanding through a new Community Forum event. The event is made possible through a grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and Institute of Museum and Library Services as well as generous support from the Friends of the Dallas Public Library.
“We have developed great relationships with our customers who are experiencing homelessness as well as our community partners who provide services to them,” said Jo Giudice, Director of Libraries for the City the City of Dallas. “We are excited to bring them together with local residents and business representatives to talk about how we define community.”
The Community Forum will be held next Friday May 15th from 9:00am – 1:00pm at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, TX 75201, first Floor Auditorium. It is open to community members (house and unhoused), business owners, community agencies and anyone interested in building community in downtown Dallas. Boxed lunch will be provided.
“As we started working to engage our customers experiencing homelessness in 2013, we quickly realized that the library’s responsibility to the public expanded beyond just its everyday customers,” said Jasmine Africawala, Community Engagement Administrator for Dallas Public Library. “What we learned about community by talking with our customers made us realize everyone needed to have an opportunity to improve their understanding of the rest of their community and embrace the value of diversity in downtown Dallas.”
Speakers for the event include Keynote speaker Willie Baronet, SMU professor and artist and Community Panel: Brent Brown, Founding Director of bcWorkshop, Reverend Bruce Buchanan, Executive Director of The Stewpot, Jo Giudice, Director of Dallas Public Library and Eddie Jimmerson, lifelong library patron.
“The public library is one of the few remaining places in society where the whole community can convene,” said Giudice. “At the library, you can be who you want to be, and read what you want to read without judgment.”
Studies have shown that diversity drives innovation and the Dallas Public Library hopes to help facilitate more interactions among diverse populations through the new Community Exchange space.
“Community is diverse and the sooner we find a way to embrace that, connect with each other and build on what we each have to offer, the stronger our community will become,” said Africawala.
Following the Community Forum is the Community Exchange opening reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony with coffee and desserts at 1:00pm. A new mural by Eyecon Studios will be unveiled on the first floor of the Central Library to re-brand its program triangle as the library’s Community Exchange area. The library will host regular programs in the space to inspire people to convene, converse and connect with each other at the library. It is free and open to the public.
RSVP for the Community Forum to [email protected] by Wed, May 13.