Several things prompt me to write this post:
- The upcoming election, all the campaign ads and press touting candidates, and the lack of respect from candidates toward their opponents.
- Learning about a series of programs at the Hedberg Public Library in Janesville, WI about Common Threads: Our Community Tapestry. From their brochure: “The program series invites you to contemplate and investigate the threads that weave us together and the importance of civility and compassion in our daily lives. . . . By creating meaningful relationships with those we meet, we celebrate how we are more alike than different and that the fabrics of our lives are woven together to enrich us all.”
- Peter Yarrow spoke and sang to attendees of the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) conference on Friday. Not only does he (still) speak about peace, love, and understanding, but he has founded the organization Operation Respect, “a non-profit organization working to assure each child and youth a respectful, safe and compassionate climate of learning where their academic, social and emotional development can take place free of bullying, ridicule and violence.”
- Jennifer Livingston, a TV news anchor in LaCrosse Wisconsin, also spoke briefly at the WLA Conference. You may have heard about her on-air editorial about bullying.
I have long felt that finding ways to understand and respect everyone, despite our differences, will help communities, countries, even the world, to flourish. There are many kinds of differences—religion, sexual preference, disabilities, political party, body type. . . I could go on and on. Libraries can play a role in helping people become more enlightened and respectful, by sponsoring programs like the one at Hedberg in Janesville, by having a balanced collection, by hiring a diverse workforce, and by treating everyone with respect and caring.