Welcoming community

Sept. 10-19 marks Welcoming Week, an initiative begun by Welcoming America, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs. In 2016, the municipality of Princeton joined this initiative as a Welcoming Town, and each year the Department of Human Services teams up with the library and other community partners to reflect on the ways that people who have come to find a home in Princeton have contributed to making the town what it is today. The organizations work together to identify how we can ensure that Princeton is a welcoming, inclusive and equitable community, so that our town may continue to flourish.

As the library’s community engagement coordinator, I am always thinking about community. When I’m watching films, reading or listening to books, gathering with friends – I think about what brings people together. What makes communities resilient? What can we do to ensure that they thrive in good times and that each member feels supported when times are tough? 

In “What Happened to You?,” co-author Bruce Perry notes, “We are a social species, we are meant to be in community — emotionally, socially, and physically interconnected with others. If you look at the fundamental organization and functioning of the human body, including the brain, you will see that so much of it is intended to help us create, maintain and manage social interactions. We are relational creatures.” As a library, a fundamental aspect of our mission is to facilitate a variety of literacies (information, health, racial, financial) including community literacy. 

What is community? According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), community is “a body of people or things viewed collectively.” However, if we go a step further, we can think of community in action being in communion, which the OED defines as  “The action or fact of sharing or holding something in common with others; mutual participation; the condition of things so held, mutuality, community, union.” As we work to engage all of our members, we would like to identify some of the things that make you feel connected. What would you like to see happen at the library to feel the support of the greater community? We would love to hear from you.

Welcoming Week: Sept. 10-19

World Gratitude Day: Sept. 21

Written with help from Kristin Friberg

Picture from Picpedia.org Community by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

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