Repairing America

Repairing America will be the overarching theme for the majority of the Boston Public Library’s programming and services during calendar year 2021.

Racism, anti-immigrant sentiment, homophobia, and other forms of intolerance have divided our nation, while basic issues of public health and pandemic response have become politicized. Massive gaps between the haves and have-nots are nearly impossible to cross.

As one of the United States’ last truly democratic institutions, we at the BPL have a responsibility to help bridge these divisions. This year, the library is focusing its institutional priorities on finding ways to help Americans become more resilient and able to face the challenges of today.

Programming Themes

  • Economic recovery 
  • Civic engagement and discourse 
  • COVID-19 recovery 
  • Racial equity 
  • Workforce development 
  • Youth engagement 

Upcoming Marquee Speakers

Debra Lee — Embracing Change & Triumphing Over Disruption

Apr 22nd | 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Online event
Debra Lee shares lessons learned from her career as one of America’s few African American women CEOs.

Dr. Celine Gounder — COVID and Where Do We Go from Here?

May 13th | 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Online event
Join epidemiologist, journalist, and filmmaker Dr. Celine Gounder for an online conversation about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community Conversations

The library has partnered with three organizations to facilitate and foster community conversations around the Repairing America themes.

Living Room Conversations

A Living Room Conversation is a conversational model developed by dialogue experts in order to facilitate connection between people despite their differences, and even identify areas of common ground and shared understanding. Learn about the Living Room Conversations open source project.

Local Voices Network

The Local Voices Network (LVN) is a unique physical-digital network designed to bring under-represented community voices, perspectives, and stories to the center of a healthier public dialogue. At the center of these conversations is a “digital hearth,” a specialized device that records the discussion as the host guides the group through questions about locally relevant topics.

Learning Circles

Learning Circles are “lightly facilitated” study groups for learners who want to take freely available online courses together. Without a formal teacher in the room, learning circles succeed through peer learning, a practice in which every participant brings their own experiences, shares with one another, and gives feedback. Visit the site our partner organization Peer 2 Peer University.

Exterior of entrance to the McKim Building of the Boston Public Library (Dartmouth Street Entrance). The image shows a bust of Minerva (Roman god of knowledge). Above it, inscribed in stone are the words, "Free to All"

Our Racial Equity Commitment & Action Plan

Learn about the BPL's statement & action plan in response to systemic racism, inequity & injustice & to becoming an anti-racist organization

Featured Initiatives

Building a Resilient Workforce

Under the workforce development theme, the Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center is hosting a Career Skills Building event series.

Career Online High School

Career Online High School (COHS) is an online high school diploma and career certification program funded by the Boston Public Library.

Reading Together: A Yearlong Reading Challenge

Reading Together challenges BPL patrons to read a book each month that falls under a theme connected to Repairing America.
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