Libraries as Bridges

In collaboration with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, join a learning network of librarians and library professionals focused on understanding, advancing, and evaluating how libraries build social cohesion,
promote civic renewal, and advance the ideals of a healthy American democracy in the 21st century.

“We don’t have enough spaces, enough civic spaces where people actually do learn how to be civic...There’s very few places where everyone in the community is entitled to go and be working together.”

-Our Common Purpose

man sitting in front of laptop typing

Project Outcomes

What we're working towards:

  • developing a shared understanding of impact

  • developing a common agenda

  • establishing a measurement system

  • creating a communication tool or platform

  • commitments from library systems to engage meaningfully and in a way that can be communicated broadly to inspire other library systems to join the effort

Join #LibrariesAsBridges in gathering stories from the fieldA core part of our current work is dedicated to gathering "stories from the field." Specifically, we are working to see and hear how other librarians and library staff have launched civic-related programs, initiatives, campaigns, and/or partnerships in their community.
You can view a portion of these stories below:

We invite you to leave your story by clicking here.

man wearing mask in library

How to get involved

Join the network.

The #LibrariesAsBridges community is for:

  • public, academic, and school librarians

  • library directors

  • civic innovators (individuals and organizations)

  • researchers

  • policy analysts


There are thousands of public, academic, school, and special libraries in this country.Each of these institutions can, and in some cases already are, playing a crucial role in the work of building social cohesion, promoting civic renewal, and advancing the ideals of a healthy American democracy.However, opportunities exist to create a streamlined, scalable, and quantifiable approach that enables librarians — regardless of geographic context — to join in and advance this important work.#LibrariesAsBridges sees the Our Common Purpose report, a project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as a foundational text for how libraries can move forward.Through a series of discussions and collaborative working sessions, we will create a framework that equips libraries to engage in this work in a meaningful way.

Sign up to receive updates and information on upcoming conversations

If you are a civic catalyst (individual or organization) who would like to partner with libraries, we want to get to know you and your organization.

© Shamichael Hallman. All rights reserved.

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