[Libs-Or] OLA Quarterly Author Showcase | Suad Mohamed & Lisa M. Taylor | Stitching Service Gaps Through Innovative Programming

OLA Communications Committee olacommunications at olaweb.org
Tue Nov 19 14:08:57 PST 2019

Suad Mohamed is currently in the role of Time Partner with Multnomah County
Library’s Human Resources. Lisa M. Taylor is delighted to be starting a new
chapter in her library career as a youth librarian for Happy Valley
Library. Please download and read their latest article, "Stitching Service
Gaps Through Innovative Programming," here:

>From their article, "Members of Multnomah County’s Somali-speaking
community frequently asked Somali-speaking library staff about the
possibility of a sewing class at the library. Multnomah County Library’s
Diverse Audiences Committee reported that other immigrant communities were
asking about sewing classes as well. Sewing in libraries? Many library
systems were already doing it. It was possible, but how could a complex
library system make this simple request a reality?

In response to community feedback, staff with an interest in equitable
programming wrote a grant proposal, The Sewing Project, to create a sewing
lab and offer a sewing program for the Somali-speaking community. The
proposal was submitted to Curiosity Kick!, an annual Multnomah County
Library (MCL) grant for creative staff ideas. In 2017, library staff voted
The Sewing Project the first-place Curiosity Kick! grant winner. This was a
unique year for MCL, as Curiosity Kick! funded two projects that both
directly responded to immigrant needs."

This article about Suad, Lisa, and MCL's remarkable effort to welcome New
Americans to our community by providing programming that meets their needs
is another article that is difficult to do justice to in a short summary.
We all should read and share this record of their work to provide library
programming and outreach services to the Somali community while considering
the community's desire for privacy, concerns for their safety, and cultural
barriers to participation. It's not hyperbole to say that this effort sets
a new bar of excellence for library work at an international level.

Charles Wood
OLA Communications
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