Building Common Ground

Mar 21, 2012

The Tippecanoe County Public Library is leading an effort to get the community to talk about diversity.

The library received a grant to conduct Conversation Circles, hold a public forum, and create a list of action items so residents of Greater Lafayette can better understand one another.

Library Director Josh Holman says the Building Common Ground program is about civility in society as it relates to diversity and inclusion.

"We are saying to people, 'Come together, let's talk. Let's talk in a way we are listening to each other, not just shouting our personal opinions and ideas.'"

He says the Conversation Circles will begin in September, but the library will have other programs between now and then. The Diversity Round Table of Greater Lafayette Commerce and Purdue’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion are partners on the project.

Christine Taylor is the Vice Provost for Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer at Purdue. She says the effort is a proactive one, and corresponds to focus group findings initiated by the Diversity Round Table

"And I think that's a very important part. As someone who as worked in the area of diversity and inclusion for years, many times these initiative come in response to something. Rather, this really is acknowledging an area we need to focus on."

The Building Common Ground initiative begins this weekend with training of about 20 people who will lead the Conversation Circles. The initiative is funded by a $2,500 grant from the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute.