Now We’re Talking
“We know that carefully facilitated dialogue taps into emerging community efforts…We have seen community members emerge as civic reflection facilitators in their own right and watched their neighbors lifted by the experience of compassionate, thoughtful dialogue focused on serious concerns.”
— Yolo County Librarian
Where can people go to talk about things that really matter—not just with friends, but also with strangers, people you normally wouldn’t get a chance to meet? We think there may be no better place than a public library for these community conversations. In a library, everyone is welcome and all kinds of people come. So the question is: how can we make this happen?
Now We’re Talking (formerly known as Making A Difference) is a program we began in 2009 to train staff at libraries to facilitate meaningful dialogue, where life experiences and personal values could be shared by community members—in a no shouting/deep listening zone.
So far, Cal Humanities has worked with the library systems of Riverside County, Salinas, and Yolo County to see how this could work. Using literature, film, and art as springboards to reflect on issues in a civic environment has had wonderful and some surprising results.
We have been able to develop this program in collaboration with our training partner, the Project on Civic Reflection, and the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the California State Library through its LSTA program, and sponsorship of Califa. We at Cal Humanities are also building out these efforts through our California Reads program.
For more information about Now We’re Talking trainings, please email Director of Programs Vanessa Whang or call her at 415.391.1474, x305.
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