Libraries and Community Discourse

Recently a friend asked why Martin Library hosts community forums and town hall meetings. My response as director of Martin Library was, “These are exactly the types of community events that should occur in a library.”

Martin Library and all York County Libraries are community hubs. Our doors are open to everyone in our community. Our libraries serve as safe places for people to gather, learn, connect and inspire.

Libraries believe in the power of open dialogue. Programs that are both engaging and thought- provoking meet the needs of the ever-changing population in York County and the City of York. Our communities are diverse, made of individuals and groups with varying opinions and ideas. Respecting the opinions of every individual in our community is important. Our forums are attended by library members and members of the community. Our members and community friends who come to open forums and listen with the purpose of understanding can be a part of transforming our community.

Recent Programs

In the last year, Martin Library has hosted Teen Town Hall meetings. These sessions help younger members of our community address issues such as the Opioid Epidemic and personal Advocacy. We discovered through these sessions that teenagers are passionate about their friends, families and community. They care about what is happening in their schools, neighborhoods, the greater community and their world. In the fall, teens across York County will participate in the second in a series of discussions called Part of the Story. This year teens have chosen to focus on ‘Body Image”. At the end of this series, teens from across York County will gather and discuss what they have learned.  They will share how this issue affects their lives and the lives of others.

Future Programs

On May 30, Martin Library will be the site of a community–wide forum, “The Riots, the Charrette & the Aftermath”. This panel discussion, hosted by York Daily Record will discuss what York is like 50 years after the race riots of 1968 and 1969. Discussion will focus on key findings of the Charrette’s held in the community after the riots. Panelists will share how York has dealt with these issues and discuss what the community needs to do in the future.

Please look for more dialogues of this type at Martin Library and at libraries throughout York County.

Mina Edmondson

Director, Martin Library