Community Building

In this new world of electronic social networking, I believe we are hungry for face-to-face community, with its promise and paradox. (See more on that tension in this earlier post).

I am co-teaching a class for library school students developed by Kathleen de la Peña McCook on community building. Students are required to visit a library board meeting as well as meetings or programs of community organizations (cultural, civic, social services). I believe librarians from the public library (one of the few truly neutral spaces in a community) can play an important role in building community.

This morning, I am facing another day of grading papers, and thinking that grading is the worst part of teaching. I wish there were time to hand back an assignment for corrections, to coach, to help a student better understand the lesson. Still, I think these students are really getting it, so I’m glad to be part of this effort.

Over the years I’ve found community in a number of places–at work, in professional associations, Unitarian Universalist congregations, groups of friends, writing groups and yoga classes. I now (sporadically) participate in a Facebook community, which I find to be helpful for shallow connections. I am hoping that using my new space on the downtown square will result in some personal community-building.

Who and where are your communities? How do we stay connected in meaningful ways that call forth our best selves, that challenge us to deepen our lives, better understand one another, and grow together?

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