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Deliberative Forums Training Session Coming Up at Princeton Public Library

The Princeton Public Library has received a grant from The Nathan Cummings Foundation for a series called “Deliberative Community Forums @ your Library”. The library will host a workshop on December 4 (1:00 p.m.– 8:30 p.m.) and December 5 (1:30 p.m.– 5:30 p.m.) for librarians and community members interested in learning how to moderate and convene deliberative forums using the National Issues materials. The Princeton Public Library is generously extending its offer of this free training to people outside of the Princeton, NJ area.

The goal of the moderator workshop is to teach individuals how to lead or convene deliberative forums in the community. The deliberative forums are part of a nationwide nonpartisan network, National Issues Forum (NIF), that consider public policy issues and are sponsored locally. At the heart of the deliberative forum process is the belief that citizens can seek out solutions and common ground on issues that affect their everyday lives. Unlike other public forums where citizens are invited to advocate a position in three-minute debates and sound bites, deliberative forums encourage participants to listen to each other for deeper understanding, and they often find that their personal values and concerns overlap with those who hold very different perceptions of the issue and what should be done about it.

The workshop will be led by Nancy Kranich, Chair of the Steering Committee for Public Issues Forums of Centre County, Pennsylvania and past President of American Library Association; and Taylor Willingham, Coordinator for Texas Forums at the LBJ Presidential Library, Austin, TX. During the course of the workshop participants will: Identify the skills needed to convene, lead, and record deliberative forums; Identify the characteristics of different forms of public discourse and deliberation; Explore the role of deliberation in democracy and have an opportunity to engage in a deliberative forum. If you are interested in participating, please contact Romina Gutierrez at 609.924.9529 x318 or rgutierrez@princetonlibrary.org.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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