[Libs-Or] Oregon Libraries and Oregon Humanities' Conversation Project

Annie (Dubinsky) Kaffen a.kaffen at oregonhumanities.org
Wed Aug 10 11:29:35 PDT 2011

Dear Oregon libraries,
I had the joy of meeting many library staff members from around the state
earlier this year at the annual conference in Salem when I led a session
talking about Oregon Humanities¹ Conversation Project program. I also
recently read OLA¹s Vision 2020 statement and especially tuned into the
portion under the ³Community² heading that said that Oregon libraries
support lifelong learning in its many variations.
Here at Oregon Humanities, our mission is to connect Oregonians to ideas
that change lives and transform communities and our Conversation Project
program is one of many options in the state for lifelong learning.

Just in case you¹re not familiar with the Conversation Project, briefly: The
Conversation Project offers Oregon nonprofits programs that engage community
members in thoughtful, inspiring conversations about important issues and
ideas. Programs are not free-form discussions or town hall-style
debates‹they are structured opportunities to bring people together to learn
from an expert, to share ideas, and to understand differing perspectives on
a given subject. Conversations are free to host, last between sixty and
ninety minutes, and are led by humanities experts who have undergone
training in facilitating public dialogue.
Libraries have always been one of Oregon Humanities¹ main program partners.
Libraries receive funding for Everybody Reads programs, as well as other
public programming, through Oregon Humanities¹ grant initiatives. But they
have also been regular hosts of Conversation Project programs in the past
two years - in fact, libraries represent more than 50% of our program
In July, Oregon Humanities published a new (and bigger!) catalog of free
Conversation Project programs about provocative issues and ideas. We've seen
the program grow so much in the first two years and the new catalog features
26 programs about some really fascinating topics. We¹re accepting
applications now, for conversations taking place between November 2011 and
February 2012. To check out the complete catalog and to download an
application, please visit:
There are Spanish-language programs available, as well as suggested, themed
program series featuring between two and four programs each. Examples of
themed series include ³Race and Change,² ³Democracy in Action,² ³Civil War
150,² ³Picturing History,² and, perhaps of particular interest to libraries,
³The New World of Words,² which features conversations that explore reading,
literature, and the power of information. (As an aside: I¹ve noticed a lot
of discussion on the listserv recently about the shift to e-books and we
have a new program called ³From Print to Pixels: The Act of Reading in the
Digital Age.")
If you have any questions about the Conversation Project or Oregon
Humanities, please get in touch!
Thanks so much,


Annie Kaffen (formerly Dubinsky)
Program Coordinator
Oregon Humanities
813 SW Alder, Suite 702
Portland, OR  97205
(503) 241-0543 ext. 116
(800) 735-0543
fax: (503) 241-0024
a.kaffen at oregonhumanities.org

O. Hm. The sound of hearing a new idea.

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