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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Building a great community

Lately, I've been meeting with a lot of community groups, in the public information and feedback part of the library's planning process. I want to record a couple of things.

First, foremost, I am utterly impressed, even blown away, by my board, the Library Trustees. They are fiercely intelligent and passionate advocates for the library.

Second, but it's not just the library. Every one of them sees the library not as an end in itself, but as a sign of a community's interest in its own future. I sat today at an economic development council meeting where my board president, Stevan Strain, delivered yet another artful, articulate, and authentic call for the profound value of the library in the creation of a great city.

For me, here's the conundrum: there is strong community support in my county for some public institutions that I'm not sure always deserve it. I certainly give them props for securing that support. It's not rational. It's emotional.

But the library has earned that support, working harder than any organization I know, public sector or private, to excel, to demonstrate value, to "build communities and improve lives" (as it says in our mission statement).

But how do we translate that objective value to the heart?

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