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Glenn Seaborg Learning Consortium (GSLC)

Contra Costa County Library
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Innovation Leader: Kathy Merchant, GSLC Program Director, merchant70@aol.com

Problem Statement

When Lafayette decided to replace its well-worn library with a new facility, over 4,000 residents participated in assessments, surveys, focus groups, and stakeholder interviews. The upshot of this community conversation was that the new library should be a center for lifelong learning and a civic focal point for everyone. This outcome is not surprising given that Lafayette is known for its quality of life, top rated schools with a strong focus on education and life-long learning. The new Lafayette Library and Learning Center (LLLC) opened in November 2009.

Innovation

Twelve preeminent cultural institutions banded together to create the Glenn Seaborg Learning Consortium, a learning community greater than the sum of its parts - a collaboration of zoo keepers, physicians and Shakespearean thespians, of planetary scientists and greenbelt advocates, of university professors and museum curators, all gathering in a single place – a suburban library -- where children, parents, and grandparents are enriched by great literature, research technology, civic lectures, beautiful music, spoken words, expert classes, and hands-on workshops. It reflects the residents’ deep commitment to children, education and life-long learning and it is a model for libraries across the nation. The Consortium includes: California Shakespeare Theatre, Chabot Space & Science Center, Commonwealth Club or California, Greenbelt Alliance, John F. Kennedy University, John Muir/Mount Diablo Health System, Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Oakland Museum of California, The Oakland Zoo in Knowland Park, St. Mary’s College, UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, and UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science.

The success of this collaboration is built on the mutual efforts of the Library Foundation and Consortium partners. Each partner pledges to provide a minimum of four programs per year, publicize programs on their website and elsewhere, attend an annual partner event hosted by the Foundation, and collaborate on an evaluation process. The Foundation will provide the venue, provide facility set up, draft and promote a Consortium calendar, provide volunteer support when needed, and showcase partner’s programs on their website, e-newsletter and by other means.

Progress

The Consortium partner programming recently launched on January 13, 2010. By the numbers, there have been 32 programs attended by 1,040 people from Jan-Mar 29, 2010. A few of the programs presented are: How Museums Thrived During the Great Depression, Journeying Through Malawi, Water Wonders, Will Your Will Stand Up?/Can You Trust Your Trust?, Build It/Shake It/Break It? earthquake program, Meg Whitman, Republican gubernatorial candidate and much more. Children loved collapsing on the floor to “die” with great drama during Kids Interactive Shakespeare, and more than 95 people attended California Arts & Craft Movement presented by the Oakland Museum.
Coming up next month: Mark Halperin, author of Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime….