Cultivating Good Community Vibes: How Libraries and Parks Bring Us Together
**Join us starting at 6 p.m. for a reception hour with food by Dutzel's Catering, music by The Phantastics, and two special drinks.
Good vibes don’t come out of thin air. Community-wide good vibes take some work and are a product of factors like good planning, collaboration, and shared spaces. Tommi Laitio, an expert in library and public park design and governance, discusses his research on the natural state of friction between religious, social, and cultural practices and how shared public institutions like libraries can facilitate a confluence of friendship and joy, or conviviality.
The Kansas City Public Library launches a yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of its founding with a special presentation by the Finnish-born scholar, urbanist, and innovative civic leader.
The former executive director of culture and leisure for the Finnish capital of Helsinki, Laitio examines the concept of transforming communities through the design of libraries, parks, and other public spaces for greater conviviality. “Parks and libraries,” he says, “can be inspiring and safe learning grounds for living in a diverse world and thus an essential component of democratic society, especially in times like today when polarized political conversations can cause us to feel divided.”
They "allow us to share resources without forcing us to shared action.”
Laitio is currently an inaugural Bloomberg Public Innovation Fellow at the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins University. During his more than five-year tenure as director of culture and leisure for the city of Helsinki, from 2016 to early 2022, he oversaw a department that won international and national awards for innovations in youth employment, public libraries, citizen engagement, cultural access, COVID-19 response, and increasing physical activity.
His presentation is livestreamed at youtube.com/kclibrary (for which no RSVP is necessary).
Also part of the anniversary celebration: Glenn North, the director of inclusive learning and creative impact for the Kansas City Museum and the first poet laureate of the city’s Historic 18th & Vine Entertainment District, presents an original poem in honor of the Library on its anniversary.
A 6 p.m. reception precedes Laitio’s and North’s presentations, offering food, music, and two special drinks: a beer, “One for the Books,” crafted by the Vine Street Brewing Co. and a specialty cocktail donated by J. Rieger & Co.
Attendees will be invited to share their Library memories and observations.