Libraries as Community Builders

Where do we go these days to connect with each other? The call to “unplug” is growing, and people are turning to their community in hopes of finding friendships and a sense of belonging. Farmers markets, 5K runs, outdoor venues, and festivals of all sorts are drawing crowds of people thirsty for something offline to entertain them, someone to join up with, somewhere to play. The library is a community hub, which, if carefully designed, serves to cultivate kinship. As Robert Putnam put it, “People may go to the library looking mainly for information, but they find each other there.”

Proper placement of a library is paramount to its effectiveness as a gathering space. Libraries located in town squares or cultural campuses are naturally utilized as a social setting because these municipal spaces are set up to serve all people. They tend to be connected to bike trails and parks, host community events or provide some type of civic service. People linger in places like these, which is where connections start to happen.

The design of a library also affects how the community interacts with it. Plenty of parking, ample outdoor spaces, attractive architecture and a welcoming entrance will spark curiosity and bring people in the door. Once inside, spaces that serve every age group will instill a sense that all are welcome and everyone belongs. Careful arrangement of a library readily gives rise to community building by gathering people in a comfortable, sensible way.

You will be glad to know that the Clearview Library District has carefully considered its role in the rapidly growing Windsor-Severance-West Greeley area. The library district is committed to standing as a civic pillar that provides the sufficient space and ideal place for people to gather and connect and thrive. As a library Friend, communicating this special role for the library to your neighbors will ensure that Clearview Library District will have the support needed to carry out this worthy endeavor for everyone in our community.