COMMUNITY DIALOGUES PROMOTE IMMIGRANT CIVIC INVOLVEMENT
Although the concept of deliberative democracy dialogues is not new, its application in the context of building immigrant civic engagement opens up a new dimension for libraries and greatly increases their public value. Around the country, such dialogues have proven to be powerful forms of civic engagement by motivating people from all walks of life to come together to share diverse views and experiences on challenges relating to a particular public problem or concern. The dialogues dispel stereotypes, build trust, and allow people to work together towards solutions to issues, and launch action. This approach is especially well suited to helping better established immigrants participate in civic integration and become involved in broader community building efforts.
Community Dialogues are designed to engage immigrants and the receiving community in dialogue on a topic of mutual concern. There are various approaches to this, but all lead to a plan of action. Hartford Public Library has piloted two approaches: City Wide and Neighborhood.