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Communications Network: Community Engagement – Part 1

Friday, December 2, 2022, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Online, Library staff only, Presentation,

Register for this event via Zoom


“Community engagement” can be a nebulous term. In libraries and beyond, it’s been used to describe everything from promoting services to collecting feedback to building long-term institutional partnerships – activities often segmented out across different positions. The American Library Association identifies community engagement as “the process of working collaboratively with community members – be they library customers, residents, faculty, students or partner organizations – to address issues for the betterment of the community.” But who gets to define what betters the community? How to ensure equitable engagement across communities? And what kind of infrastructure is needed within libraries to support engagement activities?


This fall, Harvard Library Communications is teaming up with Alessandra Seiter, Community Engagement Librarian at the HKS Library, to explore what community engagement means among Harvard Library staff. This three-part series will highlight initiatives around Harvard libraries that illuminate some core questions of community engagement. Each installment will feature a staff presentation, followed by a facilitated discussion.


The first installment of this series will focus on the question: “How do we build collaborative institutional relationships across Harvard libraries and beyond in order to best serve diverse community needs?” Our presenters will be:

  • Susan Berstler, Emerging Technology Specialist in Creative Technologies at Cabot Science Library
  • Christina Linklater, Keeper of the Isham Memorial Library and Houghton Music Cataloger
  • Juliana Kuipers, Associate University Archivist for Collection Development and Records Management Services


Susan will speak about her work on the Discovery Series, the ArtTechPsych conference, and other community-building activities in her portfolio. Christina and Juliana will speak about their work on the Eileen Southern Initiative, a multi-year library-classroom initiative celebrating the first Black woman tenured in Harvard FAS.


Find details & registration on the next two installments of this series:

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Event Organizer

Alessandra Seiter