You never know when an outreach opportunity might present itself. This one started at my book club where I met Cindy Zonies, Director of Service Coordination for the Weinberg Senior Living. Ms. Zonies saw a chance for the Library and Weinberg Place to work together in a new way. Weinberg Senior Living provides quality, affordable apartments for seniors and younger residents with disabilities. Weinberg Senior apartments were developed by CHAI, a local non-profit developer with the support of the Weinberg Foundation and other partners.
The Enoch Pratt Free Library has a long history of working with the Weinberg Place. Years ago, the library supplied a deposit collection for its tenants. Today, it is one of the regular stops for the Pratt Mobile Library. In June 2012, the Reisterstown Road Branch participated at the CHAI Info Resource Fair, which hosted a number of community resources for seniors.
Currently, the Weinberg Place is developing a year-long series of programs called Building Strength in Difference: a Cultural Diversity Program designed for their tenants to learn about the varied respective histories of their neighbors. They are starting with a kick-off event on Friday, September 28 titled How We Live as Neighbors: Then and Now. At this occasion, they want to focus on shared historical events sharing food dishes representing different countries and cultures.
The Reisterstown Road Branch will help support this series with resources from booklists to podcasts, like author Antero Pietila on his book Not in My Neighborhood. The branch also has meeting room space for small group discussions, which can be held at the library. Since the library is now on the Senior Shuttle run, tenants are also able to get to library programs.
One upcoming program the tenants are encouraged to participate in is a photography workshop, which will start in the classroom with the basics and then form breakout groups, which will take neighborhood walks to find interesting subjects for the camera. We look forward to this partnership, recognizing the traditional resources in our materials but expanding the community’s expectations of the library as space and as a place for community exploration of important topics like cultural diversity.