What kind of community do you want to live in?
We keep asking you this question because your aspirations drive our work. Since 2014, Oak Parkers have shared aspirations around literacy and education; diversity, inclusion, and equity; and health, safety, and affordability. Here are a few examples of library work inspired by those aspirations:
- Hired a social worker and built a safety and security team to serve our most vulnerable patrons.
- Adopted and are now curating a multicultural collection for encouraging empathy and developing global citizens.
- Addressed equity and increased access by removing overdue fines and fees for nonprofit rental of meeting spaces.
- Created a new strategic plan prioritizing engagement, learning, and stewardship.
- Revised the library’s vision to empower every voice in our community.
- Updated the library’s mission to share information, services, and opportunities that fulfill those aspirations.
What you told us in the fall of 2017
The hundreds of Oak Parkers who responded to this question in 2017 told us they continue to value literacy and education; diversity, inclusion, and equity; and health, safety, and affordability. But they also revealed an increased anxiety, as well as a desire to act with greater speed and a determination to make greater progress.
People commented on an increasing concern around the rising cost of living, rising taxes, threats to safety and property, and a lack of awareness—about what is happening in and around the community—and a perceived lack of people actively working together to achieve progress. Barriers mentioned included a coarsening of culture and a lack of empathy.
Frequently, people talked about the gap they saw between perception and reality around inclusion and equity. There also was a measure of discouragement about the ways government leaders and stakeholders worked with and communicated with the community.
Upon further analysis of community feedback, themes emerged. Below is a sampling of what we heard last year from your neighbors related to those themes.