San Diego County Library
Contact Name: Heather Pisani-Kristl, Heather.Pisani-Kristl@sdcounty.ca.gov
Type of Initiative: Civil Society
La Mesa Library customers have met monthly since August 2013 to discuss hot-button topics and heartfelt beliefs in a non-judgmental setting. Informed by the principles of the Center for Civic Reflection and facilitated by a trained library staffer, the group employs readings such as news articles, short stories, philosophy and poetry to uncover their feelings on issues that affect them and their families every day. The big ideas they’ve explored include: compassion, giving, trusting others, automation and work, duty and obligation, prison and punishment, and Black Lives Matter. When a reading underpins the conversation, disagreement can be respectfully expressed as a reaction to the piece, and not as an attack on another individual. This creates a safe space for customers to interpret the reading and reflect on how their experiences have led to a particular belief.