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Susan V. Bosak TEDx Talk – Building a 7-Generation World
What is a 7-Generation World?
San Diego County Library

San Diego County, CA is part of YOU 177

Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library

Whitchurch-Stouffville, Canada is a YOU 177 Lead Innovator Community


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YOU 177 Libraries
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YOU 177 Libraries
Libraries as Community Innovation Hubs

YOU 177 is a social innovation journey from dreams to legacy, aspirations to action. It's about moving toward a bigger way of thinking and acting using 7-Generation Strategy. And modern libraries, as the heart of communities, play an important role.

In the words of R. David Lankes, "To be a librarian is not to be neutral, or passive, or waiting for a question. It is to be an active positive change agent within your community."

Today's Library

Libraries Today

As libraries reinvent themselves, they're unique in communities. They're public living rooms that strengthen community cohesion. They're not only about knowledge, they're also a "House of Dreams" (scroll down to read In Praise of Libraries on this page).

Libraries are independent, trusted, respected. They're open to everyone of any socioeconomic status and all generations. The library is, in fact, one of the few multigenerational public places in our highly age-segregated society. This is important given that generational dialogue is a big part of YOU 177 – Young and Old United in 1 World with 7 Billion People across 7 Generations.

Can libraries bring generations together – in particular children/youth and Boomers/seniors – in creative, strategic new ways to not only help meet each other's needs, but to create a stronger community for all – even change the world? As part of YOU 177, we believe they can.

British writer Caitlin Moran describes a library in the middle of a community as "a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and
a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination."

Convenor, Catalyst, Cheerleader

YOU 177 event at Whitchurch-Stouffville Pulblic Library

The library is at the heart of the YOU 177 social innovation initiative. The modern library offers a big-picture sense of community and wisdom in a fragmented world. In the YOU 177 journey, the library is a community convenor, catalyst, and cheerleader.

Two libraries are helping lead the way for libraries around the world. We've worked with the San Diego County Library system, named a Gale/LJ Library of the Year. The Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library is refining the model as part of implementation in a YOU 177 Lead Innovator Community.

Discover Your Pathway

YOU 177 Library Pathway

YOU 177 is a community journey from dreams to legacy, aspirations to action.

The library serves as a safe, respected, and inspirational place to start a broad-based community conversation and build new collaborations, which are then translated into action by the community through legacy projects. Working with other local groups and organizations, a library kickstarts the YOU 177 journey with community engagement and exploration.

Generations Dream featuring Dream

Libraries can tap into the YOU 177 community reading program Generations Dream to call on the dreams and aspirations of all ages/abilities, as well as local groups. Generations Dream uses the award-winning book Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes. Dream may look like a simple picture book, but it's a transformational tool developed over five years by an international team that included librarians and educators. Combining story, historical quotations, and evocative original artwork by 15 top illustrators from around the world, Dream leverages the power of the arts for positive social change. Following on the words of Ezra Pound, "a book should be a ball of light in one's hand."

Springboarding from the star imagery in Dream, a library becomes Dream Star Headquarters as children, youth, adults, and elders create Dream Stars to fill a library with a kind of visual survey that inspires the community. People of all ages are challenged to envision their dream for their life in their community, which allows them the freedom to go to new mental places.

Through hosting events, dreamshops/workshops, and community convenings using 7-Generation resources, libraries help to further explore the aspirations, needs, and interests of the community.

The process culminates in enabling action drawing on the strengths and assets of all generations in the community for legacy projects. Libraries can also host a 7-Generation Strategist for their community.

Connect Your Community

Connect Your Community

From the perspective of a local library, YOU 177 supports your role and visibility in the community. The goals of YOU 177 include increased civic engagement of all ages (note that as demographics shift, research shows that intergenerational connections can also break down barriers of race, gender, and socioeconomic class); expanded and enhanced collaboration and innovation within and between groups and organizations to respond to community issues more effectively and reduce duplication; and a stronger, more resilient community. Ultimately, it's about a new way of thinking and acting in communities.

"Books are only half of a librarian's job; the other half is human nature," astutely notes Mary Virginia Provines.

Is your library interested in doing something bold, impactful and exciting? Join us on the leading edge. Contact the Legacy Project at 1-800-772-7765 or e-mail us. For updates on YOU 177, follow the Legacy Project on Twitter and sign up for our e-newsletter.

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