Fighting Community Deficits through an Engaged Library (2013)

The vision of the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) is to be the driving force behind a powerful culture of learning that will inspire Clevelanders from all walks of life to continually learn, share and seek out new knowledge in ways that are beneficial to themselves, their community and the world. One of the ways we will realize this vision is by focusing on our role as a community deficit fighter.

Literary Lots are helping us to fulfill our role as a community deficit fighter by: promoting learning retention during the summer; providing a public benefit by increasing the arts & cultural vibrancy of this neighborhood; increasing the organizational capacity of the Library to expand outside our buildings into the neighborhoods we serve; and exposing youth to new ideas through the creative process.

The Literary Lots program is also strengthening our relationship with community partners like Ohio City Inc., Ohio City Writers and Art House. It can be a model and inspiration for using children’s literature for learning and engagement outside the confines of any single institution. Literary Lots has shown us is that a conceptual framework of using literature to bring communities together can inspire organizations to think about collaborating in a different way.

As a librarian, we always hope that during our events and story times children and parents obtain a passion for literature. I believe that the Literary Lots can be a creative extension to engage children and families in the exciting world of books. Having this physical place where books are brought to life will be exciting for children and adults alike. Anyone who’s ever fallen in love with a story can vividly imagine the setting and people they’ve met in the book. We hope that Literary Lots conjures that same feeling.

The art workshops created by Art House and writing workshops by Ohio City Writers are giving an additional vehicle to use to understand the breadth and depth of the story telling process. Our Literary Lots provides a multi-faceted approach to literature by working with words, working with images, walking through a physical space, listening to stories and seeing films.

We know that we will only be successful in implementing our vision with a community that is enthusiastic about and engaged with the library. Through innovative new programs like the Literary Lots, CPL will continue to strive through its neighborhood presence and community programming to build an educated, engaged and empowered Cleveland.

We hope that the Literary Lots is as exciting an experience for you as it has been for us to help create it. Grab a book and we’ll meet you on the sandwich boats!

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