The Polk City Community Library has been selected as one of 200 libraries to participate in Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that helps library workers better serve their small and rural communities.

The competitive award comes with a $3,000 grant that will help the library host a community event focused on social media and how it affects users lives. The event will involve community discussion centered around both the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma and the book Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil.

“We are so proud to be chosen for this amazing opportunity,” said Library Director Jamie Noack. “Our community and the world are enduring a global pandemic, a renewed called to action against racial inequality and a contentious presidential election. Throughout all of this, social media platforms have been at the forefront of how we connect and seek solutions. However, these platforms “have the power to undermine our democracy, human rights, mental health, and free will.” It is our hope that through open discussion, we can empower our community to take action and seek solutions, even as simply as monitoring the information they receive from their own social media accounts.”

As part of the grant, the Polk City Community Library staff will take an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Staff will then host a conversation with residents about the dangers of social media and use the grant funds to purchase copies of the book Weapons of Math Destruction for participants as well as access to the documentary The Social Dilemma. If you are interested in getting involved or taking part in the conversation, please contact Jamie Noack at jnoack@polkcitylibrary.org. More information will be shared here as it becomes available.