Monday, September 12, 2016

Outside the Lines - Libraries Reimagined

Montgomery County is changing and your libraries are changing with it. MCPL is a proud participant in the innovative, worldwide initiative Outside the Lines. Outside the Lines is a week long (September 11-17, 2016) celebration of how libraries are expanding their roles beyond traditional services to embrace cultural programs, STEM activities, and other initiatives that engage people beyond the walls of the library.

MCPL's Outreach team at an elementary school
A vital part of libraries' expanded mission is serving the people where they are. San Francisco Public Library, for instance, participates in Sunday Streets, a series of neighborhood festivals during which some city streets are closed to auto traffic, allowing people to bike, walk, run, dance, do yoga, and otherwise enjoy a large, temporary public pace. Aarhus Public Libraries, in Denmark, will celebrate Outside the Lines with a traveling mobile library on a blue Piaggio motor scooter. The library will set up 3 "pop-up" libraries in a supermarket, a dormitory, and community center to reach people where they live and work.

MCPL has an entire Outreach team devoted to engaging residents where they live and work. Our Outreach team will be engaging the community at two events this Saturday -  the Teaching Africa Day event at the Silver Spring Civic Center and the Poolesville Day celebration.

In addition, MCPL is celebrating Outside the Lines with an incredible variety of nontraditional programs. We have events focused on health, such as the Bone Builders classes for seniors. Bone Builders is a fun, evidence based bone building and fall prevention program. MCPL also offers yoga and Tai Chi classes at branches throughout the county.

We also celebrating with a series of multicultural music programs. Our Twinbrook branch will host a Salute to Duke Ellington, the world renowned African American composer, pianist, and jazz orchestra leader Tuesday evening. Branches throughout the county are participating in the John E. Marlow Guitar Series, a celebration of the rhythms of Brazilian music.

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are increasingly important in today's technological era. MCPL is doing its part to prepare our young people for exciting career opportunities in STEM with a variety of programs. Our Girls Just Want to Compute program, for instance, offers the opportunity for teens to learn computer programming.

Certified therapy dog Katey loves a good story.
MCPL addresses the needs of our diverse community in other innovative ways as well, such as our citizenship preparation classes. We also sponsor programs that provide free legal assistance to low income residents. We have partnered with AARP to offer a Smart Driver Safety Course and with the Alzheimer's Association to provide social events and information sessions for people living with memory loss. School children who want to improve their reading skills can read aloud to one of several certified therapy dogs who visit several of our branches.

The world is changing and libraries are enthusiastically changing with it to better serve and engage their diverse communities. MCPL is proud to join with other participants in the Outside the Lines initiative to lead the way by boldly moving services beyond our walls.

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