The final grant paperwork for the $25k Together at the Table LSTA grant in 2017-18 has been completed. Through the grant year, we found that our community was hungry for opportunities like this to talk about important issues in a safe environment. It was heartening to see people expressing differing opinions about hot-button topics and feel respected and heard, even if they did not agree with others' opinions. We did, as expected, field some negative public feedback from individuals who did not like our choice of topics, or who questioned the scope of our project. We responded by being as inclusive as possible, and by inviting these individuals to attend our events to share their differing opinions and to submit ideas for future topics of discussion. We look forward to continuing to offer community conversations around important topics moving forward.
If you're interested in the grant details ...
Outputs from the 2017-18 grant included:
- 852 books were purchased on Together at the Table topics to add to circulating library collections
- 3,750 circulations of Together at the Table materials were generated over the life of the grant period
- 12 community conversation events were held at 12 library locations countywide, on topics including climate change, immigration, blackness in America, women’s rights, LGBTQI, and income inequality.
- 355 people attended these community conversation events
- 30 community partnerships were established, including:
- SSU Center for Environmental Inquiry
- Sonoma Clean Power
- Regional Climate Protection Authority
- Center for Climate Protection
- County of Sonoma Energy & Sustainability Division
- Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District
- Transition Sonoma Valley
- Catholic Charities Immigration Services
- Sonoma County Immigration Initiative
- Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department
- My American Dreams Project
- SSU Department of Chicano and Latino Studies
- Santa Rosa-Sonoma County NAACP
- Sonoma County Black Forum
- SSU American Multicultural Studies Department
- Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County
- Racial Justice Allies of Sonoma County
- ACLU of Northern California
- League of Women Voters of Sonoma County
- Sonoma County Chapter of the National Organization for Women
- National Women’s History Project
- YWCA Sonoma County
- County of Sonoma Commission on the Status of Women
- LGBTQ Connection
- Positive Images
- SSU Department of Women’s & Gender Studies
- California Labor Commission
- North Bay Jobs with Justice
- Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board
- Sonoma County Economic Development Board
- 58% of surveyed attendees of Together at the Table events reported an increase in knowledge about the topics presented and discussed.
- 86% of surveyed attendees of Together at the Table events reported an increase in understanding of the mission, goals, and priorities of local organizations and agencies providing resources on each topic.
While the results of our first outcome was slightly lower than our expectations, our second outcome exceeded the expectations and goals of the project; we feel this is a valuable outcome for it demonstrates how this project helped to connect and engage participants with the community organizations who were our partners. We look forward to using what we learned from this experience to continue and expand future Together at the Table community civic engagement.
The Together at the Table concept will continue to be used at SCL. We are soliciting suggestions from our community for new topics to explore and discuss together at the systemwide level, and we are embracing other issue-based events and programming to continue to explore topics of social justice together with our communities. Look for quarterly topics and events with community partners to continue the great range of community conversations in 2019.