The Free Library Welcomes 'Hear Me Out' Dialogue Series Program!

By Irma Q. RSS Fri, September 25, 2020

Do you know your fellow library patrons? Are you interested in joining an authentic learning space with fellow patrons across Pennsylvania? The Free Library is excited to introduce Hear Me Out: a digital, facilitated dialogue series that connects Pennsylvanians to each other through brave and authentic conversations.

In partnership with libraries across the state, patrons from Philadelphia, and partner libraries will join together across distance and difference to uplift and honor the range of Pennsylvanians’ lived experiences. 

Why is dialogue important or relevant?
Hear Me Out arose from an understanding that the importance of combating polarization and indifference across political and geographic divides rests in Pennsylvanians—from all walks of life—being able to engage in authentic and brave conversations about national and local issues. Our current moment requires engaging proactively and intentionally with issues that impact our everyday lives. Dialogue, as opposed to debate or discussion, intentionally curates a space for individuals to collectively process while maintaining their own identity and humanity. While some of the problems we face require more than talk, creating a space for dialogue allows for individuals to build trust and collectively understand experiences that lay the foundation for collective civic action.

Community voices, community connections
Hear Me Out recognizes that there is power and strength in community. As we collectively navigate difficult issues like COVID-19, systemic injustice, economic hardship, and more, patron networks and stronger communities are important to cultivate. We’ve worked to create forums to highlight community voices, stories, and knowledge-seeking processes. 

We believe this is a step to building mutual understanding that better equips us to engage in mutual, compassionate, and genuine interactions. As a program, we are committed to meeting and rising to the occasion by using community agreements, engaging with experienced community facilitators, and exercising tried-and-true dialogue skills. If you’re interested in being a part of a learning space where participants work to be collaborative, express authentic hopes and fears, and challenge themselves and others’ preconceived notions, we hope that you’ll join us for this first session! 

Join us on October 27 at 5:30 p.m.!
In partnership with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, The first Hear Me Out dialogue, "Does My Vote Count?", explores participant’s relationships with voting in light of the upcoming election. The session will explore personal and familial experiences with voting and how this connects to trust in the voting system. Participants can expect questions that will probe lived experiences around voting, such as:

  • Were your grandparents able to vote?
  • What ideas about voting did you hear in your home growing up?
  • What are your hopes and fears when it comes to voting in the upcoming election?

Registration for this event is required.

This initiative is made possible by a generous grant from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, awarded to the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation.

We’re so excited to welcome you into a digital initiative that envisions connections beyond distance and difference!

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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I am maintaining a website that aims to educate anyone in the language of English about the process that results in someone becoming President of the United States of America. The website is located at:
David Dubroff - Philly Suburbs
Thursday, October 1, 2020

I am so glad to have heard this program of civic dialogue mentioned on my local public radio station, WHYY. I always try to engage in conversation with strangers in grocery lines, bus, sidewalk, stores BECAUSE I deeply believe the mere act of doing so makes our society better. Sort of like sharing your umbrella in a rainstorm. P.S. I used to be trained in structured civic dialogue (National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD)), Penn Project for Civic Engagement and "Deliberative Democracy" via NIF Network National Issues Forum Institute. Just in case. :–)
William Marston - Philadelphia
Wednesday, October 14, 2020