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LISC Report: Museums, Libraries Play Role in Community Revival

What can cultural institutions do to help drive community revival? In a new report, LISC and the Institute of Museum and Libraries Service highlight the many ways museums and libraries are collaborating with community developers and other public sector partners to help address the needs of economically-distressed areas.

The excerpt below is from:
"Museums, Libraries and Comprehensive Initiatives: A First Look at Emerging Experience"
By LISC and the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Message from LISC

We at LISC know that the communities we support face deeply interconnected problems—people who are poor and live in poor neighborhoods experience more crime, send their children to lower-performing schools, struggle to find steady employment, and face other challenges that people in higher-income communities do not.

This is why LISC, as a national intermediary dedicated to supporting community-based efforts to revitalize poor neighborhoods, has embraced comprehensiveness as the best way to set low-income neighborhoods on a path to renewal. We help community organizations form collaborations of diverse groups able to build affordable housing, dampen crime, improve school quality, and enhance many other areas of community quality simultaneously.

The groups we support cannot take on this hard work without important local partners, especially in fields not commonly tilled by traditional community developers. New efforts to reinforce the deep structure of communities—the cultural and educational opportunities that shape people’s understandings of themselves and their communities—can only gain traction when pursued in partnership with artists, arts and cultural institutions, and other conservators of local knowledge and culture, like libraries.

We view our joint work with IMLS as a good way to help organize this support. We are especially pleased that among other noteworthy local efforts, this report highlights the work of several of our own partners, including the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory. We believe that efforts like these set a new standard of practice in advancing comprehensive approaches to change.

Michael Rubinger

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