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ALA Deliberate (Discussion List)

The Deliberate discussion list was established to connect librarians interested in using deliberative forums in their community with each other. Discussion list participants are library school educators and students; academic, school and public librarians; ALA staff; state library association staff; and members of the National Issues Forums network interested in making connections with the library community.

To subscribe, email listproc@ala.org with “subscribe DELIBERATE your name” in the body of the message. To post to the list, email deliberate@ala.org.

Some of the questions that librarians can use the discussion list to work on together include:

  • How can I recruit forum participants?
  • Where can I send my colleagues to get trained as moderators of deliberative forums?
  • What partners do you work with in your community and how did you form your partnership?
  • What issues have been framed for a deliberative conversation?
  • How do we use the forums to connect with policy-makers?
  • Is anyone involved in moderating online forums?
  • How can we frame our own local issues?

How did this list get started and who manages it?

A groundswell of librarians interested in deliberative forums as a means of strengthening democracy and civic connections in their own community began to find each other in 2000 under the leadership of then-ALA president Nancy Kranich. Nancy’s presidential agenda was bolstered by a stirring ALA Presidential speech by Robert Putnam at Annual Conference 2001 in San Francisco. Kranich noted, “As librarians, we share Dr. Putnam’s concerns about the erosion of social capital in our communities. The goal of the President’s Program is to create strategies for libraries to play a strong and active role in rekindling civil society.” Mary Ghikas’ tireless leadership led to a series of training sessions at ALA mid-winter and annual conferences. With encouragement from the National Issues Forums and members of the NIF network like Taylor Willingham, these sessions have introduced over 100 librarians to deliberative forums. With Mary’s support, ALA established this discussion list to help keep us connected.

Resource Link: www.cren.net/listproc/docs/usercard.html

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