By Breanne Vailes
“We are neighbors. We foster relationships, listen and act to build and strengthen our community. We bring people together to share information, ideas and experiences.” This is the description of Denver Public Library’s value of connection.
This description just about perfectly depicts DPL’s Plaza program. The connection still remains largely online for now, but, before the pandemic, people from various backgrounds and cultures were able to spend a few hours every week interacting with others from their community. Participants would gather in circles to practice English or study for citizenship, sharing details of their lives with one another. Other activities, like art projects, would bring people together of all ages. Now with online programming, Plaza participants connect with those who might or might not live near them. For some families, online groups provide an opportunity for connection when transportation or responsibilities at home prevented them from visiting the library in person. In light of the isolation living in a new country can bring–on top of the loneliness that comes from a pandemic–such connection can be a lifeline.
Once community members are connected to other participants, they keep coming back for more conversation, learning, and closeness with others. The Plaza community is like a web of people connected by strings, strings loose enough for participants to come and go as they please, but always present to lead people back to a diverse and welcoming community.
The Denver Public Library's Cultural Inclusivity department collaborates with Denver's multicultural community to create equitable opportunities for learning, discovery, and connection.
We offer Plazas, an open community space where people from all over the world connect with information and resources, building Denver’s global community. Come to practice English, prepare for citizenship, pursue your goals, and create your future. Whatever you’re doing, we can help!