Monday, August 15, 2022

Guns? Light rail? Racial tension? Library asks what you want to discuss

The Virginia Beach Public Library wants to know how important issues such as sea level rise, racial tension and immigration are to local residents. Also: guns and violence, religious freedom, the future of energy in Virginia Beach, and light rail.

People are asked to rate the topics in a survey the library has issued to increase attendance for its Community Conversation program. The talks are free, quarterly, small group discussions about national and local issues, with the aim of finding common ground on controversial topics, according to a release.

The sessions typically draw about five people, said Christine Brantley, the library’s community relations and development coordinator.

“We wanted to max the attendance at the program and make sure we’re having conversations about the topics that people are really interested in,” she said.

The online survey asks respondents to rate topics from “not important” to “very important,” explain why and offer other topics they would like to have discussed. It also asks people what times are best for them to attend one of the talks.

The sessions are held at at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library. Organizers will bring in stakeholders to contribute to the discussion — police officers if the topic is about police, for example, Brantley said. For national issues, the library sends the discussion feedback to the National Issues Forum, so the dialogue can reach more people involved with the subject.

The survey will remain open until 5 p.m. Sunday. You can find it here.

The next Community Conversation, on July 5, will cover climate change.

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