Uniting America: Library Connections
This past week I spent a good amount of time at the Waukegan Public Library. The number of services that they have is amazing. They have so many programs that are available o the public at no cost. The space has been recently redone and it is warm and inviting. I had the opportunity to meet with Carmen Patlan, the head of Community Engagement and Outreach. She was filled with enthusiasm and ideas about Uniting America. We talked about some ideas for larger community events that I could do in the upcoming months. Carmen is also running some great programs at the library. I am going to start looking for some specific volunteers for her.
One program that she does is called “Promotores” and it is a way for people to volunteer to advertise the library on their own time. Each volunteer are trained about everything that the library (which is a lot) and then they are taught how to give tours of the library. From there they are given an official messenger bag filled with brochures and other materials and then volunteers go out and advertise for the library. I think that this is great and innovative program because there are so many services that the library has to offer. Carmen told me that there are many people in the community who may not know that the library is free to them and that regardless of their immigration status they can use all the services the library have to offer. I am currently looking for “library lovers” to become Promotores and work with Carmen. She currently has 8 and it looking to expand! She also is offering a conversational English class and is looking to expand that so it can serve more people.
I then went and met with Josh Anderson who has recently started working for the Lake County Adult Learning Connection. They provide one-on-one literacy tutoring for Adults. This is a partnership between the Waukegan Public Library and College of Lake County. Volunteers in this program must have 12 hours of training prior to working with people. I am also now working to find to people to be adult literacy tutors.
Having meetings like the two that I had at the library are essential to what I am doing as a Fellow. They are also encouraging and exciting. Finding places like the library where they are doing great work makes the vision of Uniting America come alive.