Community Support Assessment

Primary author: Chelsea Price

As I was reading through the transcripts from the community interviews, it struck me how caring and supportive these small, rural communities seemed.

What is in this tool?

  • Spend time considering the ways in which community residents, the library, and you support one another
  • Brainstorm ways to improve those networks of mutual aid

Interviewees discussed how the community came together to help someone out in times of tragedy, how the offering of food or car rides to appointments in times of need was often a lifeline, how everyone looks out for one another. Sometimes the library was involved in offering support, sometimes the support was offered to the library, but what interviewees discussed most was the community coming together to support one another.

I found the symbiotic relationship between the community members and the library to be quite interesting.  Do communities where members naturally support one another also have a large amount of support for the library?  Does the library offer the community as much support as the community gives them?  What can libraries do to encourage that support and make connections between community members?  These were all questions I pondered as I created this tool.

LISTEN: But I like the rural community so I’ll stay put. I think it’s just a caring community. I’ll just give you an example: My husband was involved in a serious accident last August, almost a year ago. He rolled a tractor on himself and we spent 19 days in Rochester, Minnesota. And the community support that we had was–now I’m gonna cry, no but… You can’t imagine the people that helped us. Hundreds of people helped us. [Wow] Yes. Yes. Because everybody knows you. And if they don’t know you, they know somebody who does know you. — Jenee (interview #2-2-02)