H.R.6843 - Building Civic Bridges Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Andy Barr [R-KY-6]* & Rep. Derek Kilmer [D-WA-6] with 20 cosponsors in the Education and Labor committee on 02/25/2022 to help local communities foster civil discourse to address shared challenges. The bill would establish a new, non-partisan pilot program, led by an Office of Civic Bridgebuilding, within AmeriCorps focused on building relationships across lines of difference. The program would have four core pillars:
NCDD Member Organization, The Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), leverages science to advance community priorities. These projects are contributing to a growing movement toward engaged, community-driven science. They recently shared an interview from The Wildlife Center of Virginia where Community Science Fellow Devin Jefferson was interviewed for "Untamed: Life is Wild". Devin showcased his work with the Science Museum of Virginia and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond to study urban heat islands and air quality. His interview is in the May 5: Episode 403: Citizen Science (starting at 16:53).
Untamed: Life is Wild is an award-winning television series co-produced by the Wildlife Center of Virginia and VPM, Virginia's home for public media. The series focuses on a variety of wildlife issues drawn directly from the stories of the thousands of wild animals in need of care that arrive at the Wildlife Center’s doorstep every year. The stories of these animals illustrate the wider problems wildlife face — litter, pesticides, free-roaming domestic animals, habitat loss, and diseases – and challenge viewers to take action to protect wildlife.
The Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) is a professional membership organization with a vision of increased understanding of—and engagement with—science and technology among all people and a mission to champion and support science and technology centers and museums. Founded in 1973, ASTC champions and supports more than 500 science and technology centers and museums, natural history museums, children’s museums, and other STEM-rich, place-based institutions. ASTC currently runs a Dialogue & Deliberation Fellows Initiative - learn more here!
The National Civic League, an NCDD member organization, released the National Civic Review (NCR) Spring 2022 edition and NCDD members receive a digital copy of NCR for free! (Find the access code below.). This esteemed quarterly journal offers insights and examples of civic engagement and deliberative governance from around the country. Thanks to Rebecca Trout, NCL’s Program Director for All-America City Award & Communications, for sharing this announcement with the NCDD network!
National Civic Review Spring Edition 2022 – Access Code: NCDD22
NCDD is thrilled to be involved in the April Promising Practices webinar from the National Civic League! Next Tuesday, April 26th at 2:00pm Eastern/11:00am Pacific, NCDD's Executive Director Courtney Breese will join Samantha Oakley from the American Library Association and Kellee Forkenbrock from North Liberty Library to speak about the Libraries Transforming Communities initiative and NCDD's support of these efforts. The webinar will also talk about the work libraries are doing to serve as centers for dialogue and engagement.
Check out the webinar description and speak bios below. And don't forget to register at this link to join us!
Libraries are far more than repositories for books, often serving as hubs for community life and civic engagement. As one of the last remaining accessible public spaces, libraries serve as centers of education and literacy, academic and professional development, engagement and dialogue. During this webinar, attendees will learn about the American Library Association’s initiative, “Libraries Transforming Communities," which has provided libraries opportunities to learn the skills of facilitating community conversations with help from the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation. We will then hear how two libraries are engaging their communities and centering public discourse.
Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) — an initiative of the American Library Association — seeks to strengthen libraries’ role as core community leaders and change-agents. The initiative addresses a critical need within the library field by developing and distributing new tools, resources and support for librarians to engage with their communities in new ways.
North Liberty Library in Iowa – Lighthouse in the Library is a conversation series giving North Liberty residents an opportunity to speak on important community issues in a town-hall style setting.
Courtney Breese, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD)
As the executive director of NCDD, Breese leads a network of 700 individuals and organizations who bring people together across divides to discuss, decide, and take action together effectively on today’s toughest issues. She directs ongoing programs including NCDD’s work with the ALA.
Breese is also an experienced mediation and public engagement practitioner. She has a passion for helping people make connections, communicate more effectively, and make decisions collaboratively. She enjoys examining systems and structures and working to improve society on a macro level.
Kellee Forkenbrock, Public Services Librarian, North Liberty Library
After two decades of work in the private sector, Kellee Forkenbrock joined North Liberty Library in June 2019 as a library assistant. She was promoted to her current role as Public Services Librarian in October of the same year, serving as the community engagement liaison for the library and assisting with the management of the library’s part-time staff.
Kellee holds a Bachelor’s in Marketing and is pursuing a Masters in LIS from the University of Iowa. Her professional background includes a decade of project management with a skills assessment firm and seven years in multimedia advertising for a Gannett newspaper. Kellee is active in her community as a board member, having served for the Iowa City Public Library and Girls on the Run of Eastern Iowa. Read more about Kellee on her LinkedIn profile.
Samantha Oakley, Project Director, American Library Association
Samantha Oakley is an experienced project director with a demonstrated history of working in the library field. She is a project director with the American Library Association’s Public Programs Office; in this position she directs the following efforts: Libraries Transforming Communities, Let's Talk About It: Women's Suffrage, Media Literacy Education in Libraries for Adult Audiences, Community Connect, ALA PPO's annual grant opportunities, online learning, evaluation, and partnership inquiries.
She has a BA in English from Western Illinois University, an MA in Gender Studies from Minnesota State University – Mankato, and a Master of Library & Information Science (MLIS) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The National Civic League is now accepting applications for the 2022 All-America City Award. The 2022 All-America City Awards are being co-convened with the Campaign for Grade-Level reading and will focus on Housing as a Platform for Early School Success and Equitable Learning Recovery.
During the past 18 months, the closure of schools, early childhood programs and child care centers in response to COVID-19 was a significant setback for all children’s early school success. Public housing and affordable housing programs are high-potential platforms for regaining momentum for early school success and for accelerating equitable learning recovery.
Begin your community’s application today to become a 2022 All-America City!
Cities, counties, towns and tribes can submit a letter of intent by January 10th to receive $100 off of their application fee. Applications are due March 1st. Leaders from local government, schools, nonprofits, community foundations, libraries, chambers of commerce and youth have all led their communities to win the All-America City Award.
Unlike any other event, the All-America City Experience provides participants with lasting connections with community members and peers across the country, in-depth learning opportunities, and fun, energizing events!
NCDD is excited to announce that we will be co-presenting a session at the Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia, PA on Friday, March 23rd at 2:00pm. Along with our partners at the American Library Association Public Program’s Office, NCDD will be talking with public librarians about the Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change initiative and will help them further explore how libraries can engage their communities through dialogue and deliberation. The session is open to all attendees.
The description for the session, titled Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change is below:
As we begin the new year, NCDD is excited to announce we are launching a two-year partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) that will train library staff across the country to use methods and processes from the dialogue and deliberation field to support their communities. Our Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change partnership will take the form of both online and in-person trainings that we hope will help strengthen the capacity for libraries to serve not only as places of learning and research, but also as hubs for dialogue, engagement, and healing our divides.
We see this partnership as a chance to broaden the reach and the impact of our field’s work, as well as an opportunity to create new audiences and collaborative potentials for D&D practitioners in the future. We’ll be sharing more info on the partnership soon, but for now, we encourage you to read more about the upcoming trainings in the ALA announcement below or to find the original here.
In case you haven’t heard, the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation has become the new steward of Conversation Café (CC). Andy has revamped the CC website, which you can check out at www.conversationcafe.org, and we are in the process of reconnecting with the CC network and figuring out how we can best support and grow this important community.