Sunday, October 25, 2009

2009 Librarians for Human Rights Award- Hartford Public Library

Librarians for Human Rights has selected the Hartford Public Library to honor as a Library that Demonstrates a Commitment to the Democratic Humanity of its Community by Neighborhood Level Action.

The mission of the Hartford Public Library is to promote and support literacy and learning, to provide free and open access to information and ideas, and to help people participate in our democratic society.

The mission statement of Hartford Public Library’s Neighborhood Teams declares that "We, the Hartford Public Library connect to the 17 neighborhoods of the City and are committed to being part of the daily lives of the people. Using the entire resources of the Library, we encourage growth, development and achievement through innovative and responsive programs and services."

There are eleven teams in all. Each team is composed of branch staff, Central Library staff and subject specialists working with community agencies and staff who are residents of the neighborhood.

The primary job of the team is to know the neighborhood. Every team strives to answer these questions: Who are your people? What are the issues and concerns? What are the organizations? Who leads them? Does the Library have a positive presence in the neighborhood? And, is it serving the interests and needs of the people?

All teams regularly attend neighborhood meetings: NRZs, Problem Solving Committees, Neighborhood and Merchants Association meetings, youth and parents group meetings. Each team has gathered data to update the neighborhood profile and developed a comprehensive file about the neighborhood. Team members meet each month to discuss and consider what they have learned about the neighborhood and to develop a creative and timely response for services and programs.

As they move through the neighborhood, each team member listens to learn, and listens to link. They are strong advocates for the Library and the power of Library resources to contribute to the quality of life. Through the Neighborhood Teams it is now easier than ever before to link people wherever they live or work in the City to the total resources of the Library.

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