Open Hearts, Open Minds
Laura Wecksler, 2024 Showcase

Open Hearts, Open Minds

Open Hearts, Open Minds: The Open Hearts, Open Minds project is a program designed to create positive and lasting connections between library staff, patrons experiencing homelessness and law enforcement officers. Many of us who work in public libraries (or not) may be aware of the often contentious relationship between the library, police department and the homeless.

What if we could create opportunities for officers and this community to get to know one another on a personal level by playing board games together, thereby establishing rapport, understanding and perhaps even connecting people with needed services? When you play a card or board game with someone, everyone starts on the same, level playing field and you get to know someone pretty quickly. This program, coupled with the addition of hourly personal belonging lockers is an attempt to remove barriers and communicate the message that the library supports all of its community members.

Laura Wecksler

Laura Wecksler is a second year MLIS candidate at San José State University. She currently works part-time as a library aide in her local public library system, Santa Cruz Public Libraries. After spending 10 years as a stay-at-home-parent, she is elated to embark upon a career in the Information Science field, and hopes to use her skills in communication, empathy and connection to provide infinite opportunities for people to learn in the library. As a descendant of the Coast Miwok of Bodega Bay, she plans to use her degree to pursue awareness and advocacy for the sovereignty of Native American traditional knowledge and artifacts.