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midweek Connect: 8/25/21 ~ Cultural Libraries

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

In our on-going quest for all things cross-cultural, I thought we would pause and reflect a bit on a few cultural characteristics and functions of libraries. I’ll do this in the context of the 3rd, the Harbor, dimension of Global SKILLs 3D Dynamics Model - the Harbor being a space where people gather to exchange and share resources. Everyone brings something to the Harbor, and everyone leaves with something of value to them.*

As long as I can remember, I have always loved libraries! Here in the US where I spent my early years into young adulthood, there is a public library system and institutions of all levels of education have their own libraries. Whether it was for leisure reading or academic pursuits, I spent a lot of my time in libraries.

Then I went to live and work in West Africa, in communities not traditionally focused on books or literacy, whose languages had yet to be written down. It was there I experienced the fact that there were richly endowed cultural libraries - repositories of resources and knowledge to be shared - of many other kinds! Griots, the keepers of oral lineages and stories, were living libraries, appearing to both perform and inform at many types of gatherings. Neighborhoods, aligned by clan, maintained and shared resources, some of which were human - peer group workers, for planting and harvests, for example; some of which were tools, necessary for specific purposes and occasions but not needed on a daily basis - like extra large cooking pots and flat irons.

Whether they were ‘harbor-ing’ books or people or objects - I’d like to suggest that we all have libraries in our experience which have enriched our lives…within and outside our own cultures!

How about for you - what is one cultural library experience you have had?

Share about that with a friend or note it here.

Stay tuned for future Connect library explorations...and check out this week’s Global SKILLs LINKs below for additional content on libraries in familiar and perhaps new to you cultural contexts.

Until next week,


* Global SKILLs 3 Dimensional Dynamics Model: 1st dimension = HOME; 2nd dimension = HOST; 3rd dimension = HARBOR

~ contact me for more information on this model and how you might use it in your current programming


~ West African Griots - living libraries:

~ A wonderful beginning if you want to learn more about the history of libraries and so many different kinds of these ‘repositories’:

~ How the pandemic has impacted the socio-cultural functions of libraries here in the States, and I imagine in other places as well: .

~ A contemporary fictional journey into an imagined library, fascinating albeit (mild disclaimer) quite dark: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig,

2021 ~ Celebrating 40 years of working in

intercultural communications and global community building

Connecting, Collaborating, Cultivating Community

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