Barb Brattin, director, Wilkinson Public LIbrary


Editor’s note:  Year after year, the Library Journal Index of Public Library Services, a public library rating system, has designated Telluride’s Library a five-star institution. And it just earned its fifth star in a row, which puts The Wilkinson Public Library into an elite club of 30 libraries that have seen stars five years in a row and third in the nation among public libraries with annual budgets of $1 – 5 million, hence the name of library director Barb Brattin’s semi-regular column, “Five Stars.”

Barb Brattin, director, Wilkinson Public LIbrary

Barb Brattin, director, Wilkinson Public LIbrary (and Finn)

Outstanding public programs are the cornerstone of Wilkinson Public Library’s service to its community and a large part of why Telluride’s busy library is used more than any other public library in Colorado.

Viewed by traditional users as peripheral to a public library’s core mission, public programming is in fact taking front and center in progressive communities across the country. Collaborative learning, deliberative dialogue, and community conversations are showing up in public libraries to rave reviews. Teens are engaging with “the hero’s journey” in new and important ways, artists are weaving story with media, and technology is bringing a new audience to the time-honored stories of our civilization. Librarians report strong passion in their communities to talk together about the difficult challenges facing us all and to work together for solutions in the most trusted cornerstone of democracy- the public library.

At Princeton Public Library in Princeton, New Jersey, school children indulge in “digital humanities,” learning Shakespeare through “Sonnet Slams” and bringing modern literature to life through “Revolutionary Readings.” The Library as Incubator Project encourages public and academic libraries to create “maker spaces” where people of all ages can collaborate on design, invention, and idea generation. Libraries across the world are offering MOOCS, Massive Open Online Courses, in their quest to provide relative lifelong education. In Virginia Beach, conversation projects about resort development morphed into the Hampton Roads Center for Civic Engagement, an independent entity that mediates government local affairs by collecting public opinion on important regional issues. In Skokie, Illinois, the public library is entering its fifth year of One Skokie interactive programming featuring food, field trips, music, and lectures designed to foster understanding of the many cultural traditions in its diverse community.

At Princeton, The National Endowment for the Humanities has provided a challenge grant to foster creative programming that brings the humanities to life in a digital age. At Wilkinson Public Library, we also recently received support from NEH when we won a competitive grant application to foster understanding of the Muslim culture in our own part of the globe.

Wilkinson Public Library is proud to announce that it has been selected as one of 800 recipients of The National Endowment for the Humanities’ Muslim Journeys Bookshelf grant. The grant, part of NEH’s Bridging Cultures initiative, is “intended to address the American public’s desire for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations.”

WPL will receive 25 books, three films, and a one-year subscription to Oxford Islamic Studies online. Using the themes of American Stories, Connected Histories, Literary Reflections, Pathways of Faith, and Points of View, the library will host a year-long programming series that introduces the themes to the library community. Programs will include the poetry of Rumi, scholar-led facilitated discussions of topics in Islamic history and culture, as well as shared viewing of the films in the Bookshelf collection.

If the library chooses, it will be eligible for a second round of grant funding that supports programming focused on Islamic art.

The library depends on grants like this one from NEH to provide stellar low-cost programming to our remote community. We invite you to check out a book from the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf and engage in the conversation.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.