"ALL ARE WELCOME" Fayetteville Public Library

Rachel Fox

April 14, 2021

"ALL ARE WELCOME" | ¡Bienvenidos a la Biblioteca Pública de Fayetteville! Diana Dominguez tells us more as the Multicultural Community Liaison.

Coordinated by Rachel Fox. Interior Photos by Rachel Fox.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do? 

‍Hello! My name is Diana Dominguez. I am Mexican-American and speak Spanish + Spanglish! I have been living in northwest Arkansas for roughly 5 years now. 

I am the Multicultural Community Liaison with the Community Engagement Department at the Fayetteville Public Library. I work with all departments, particularly Adult and Youth Services to create library programming that reaches primarily Spanish-speaking and Marshallese audiences. I also work with our Marketing team to reach and grow our online connection to these communities.

Prior to COVID, we had pop-up libraries, which gave us an opportunity go out in the community to sign community members up to library cards, check out library materials, and promote our library programming. We also hosted English lessons at the library on a weekly basis through our partnership with Ozark Literacy Council. Right before the pandemic, we started our K-12 multilingual tutoring through TLC Tutoring Company at the library to provide additional support to English Language Learners at Fayetteville Public Schools. Community partnerships are essential to the work that I do at the library - I always want to be supporting and elevating the work that organizations led by these communities are already doing.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

 

I really enjoy meeting + connecting with different communities! I love hearing about the work that is already being done in the community and finding creative ways to support that work whether that is by offering our platform or helping to coordinate new opportunities for collaboration with the library.

I have also enjoyed getting to virtually meet with various public librarians from different places across the United States to get ideas on expanding library programs and services.


The library’s vision is to be “powerfully relevant and completely accessible.” What does that mean to you?

Part of relevancy and accessibility is being in constant communication with different communities to have a better understanding of community needs. Being open to any and all feedback is necessary, including blind spots. Historically, public libraries have been and continue to be very white and understanding this history is important to note. Having this knowledge, we can work towards better engaging other communities that might not be accessing the public library to its full potential. 

When I think about these new spaces, I say to myself, “Who is accessing these spaces? And who isn’t and why? How do we get them here, while also meeting them where they are?” Every day it is a constant series of questions that I ask myself and bring into community meetings.


There has been exciting new changes and additions to the Fayetteville Library, can you tell us a little bit about that and what new and existing guests can expect? 

The expanded FPL is redefining the traditional public library model. Now, in innovative new spaces like the 16-station Teaching Kitchen, 700-seat Event Center, Center for Innovation, and Art & Movement Room, you can come to your library to create and develop new skills without prohibitive costs. Culture, arts, wellness, and technology also now have a greater presence and will provide free, public access to experiences and opportunities outside the norm. We also have a brand-new website and online catalog!  

Voyage of Lost Keys by Aimée Papazian⁠ : "When I was growing up, there was a small plaque with a key on the wall of my grandmother’s house in Flushing, New York. That key was what was left of my grandfather’s house after the entire Armenian quarter of the city where he lived in Turkey was burned down. He fled for his life that day, along with most of the Armenians in the country. He was 18 years old. After the fire, a friend went back to where his house had been and found that key in the ashes, and sent it to my grandfather’s family.⁠" - @aimeepapazian

From our tour, we were really impressed with how inclusive and accessible this space really is!  We noticed an amazing selection of books from diverse authors from pre-school to adults.  The 24 hour access is incredible for those that are students or that work outside of the 9-5 hours.  The aisles appear to be wider than other libraries for those that may have mobility chairs, is there anything we are missing?  

Yes, absolutely. Our space is visibly and physically more accessible, meaning that we went from 66% public access in the building to 90%, which is incredible! You get to see staff in action, working and have more space available to you. We have also added additional entrances and elevators for increased accessibility throughout the building. In the children’s library, we also have comfort rooms that provide a private room for versatile needs and stroller parking next to the restrooms. Finally, our signage has been updated and includes English, Braille, and Spanish. Our monthly calendars are available in Spanish and library maps available in Spanish and Marshallese at the Welcome desk and help desk throughout the library.   

We also heard that any members can use the amenities and spaces for their own use, their business, creative endeavors, and events.  Can you tell us a little more about these new spaces and how a member might use them?

In addition to our new study rooms, we have several new meeting and event spaces. We’ve added on another board room, an art and movement studio, a reception room, a teaching kitchen, the Center for innovation, and the Event Center. All our new spaces will provide larger venues for our growing programs, and certain spaces will also be available to rent.  The Event Center will benefit non-profits and for-profit businesses who are looking for a great mid-sized venue for their theater performances, dance recitals, concerts and/or banquets. The teaching kitchen and reception room can be used in support of events in the Event Center or be rented individually. The Art & Movement Room will provide a space for wellness classes or art workshops. Rentable spaces will be handled by FPL’s first ever Event Coordinator, Kristen Hoover.  

The Center for Innovation will be monumental in workforce development once it is up and running. FPL has purchased an 18-wheeler simulator, a CAT construction simulator, and a flight simulator. Library patrons will be able to go through training with this equipment to increase their chances of getting hired in related fields. The Center for Innovation also has numerous opportunities to explore STEAM interests and professional pursuits, including virtual reality, audio and video production, photography, materials fabrication, robotics, electronics, and even computer science. Now, you can do so much more than borrow from your FPL: you can develop new skills and transform your life, all from the comfort of your public library. 

*Space and Event Disclaimer. All members are welcome to use the amenities and spaces for events free of charge, but they can not profit off events held at the library.


Can anyone become a member?  What is the best way someone can become a new member of the Fayetteville Public Library? 

If you are a resident of Fayetteville you are eligible for a free library card. Community members who reside in the cities of Rogers, Bentonville or in Washington County are eligible for a free card. Those who work, own property, or attend school in Fayetteville are also eligible for a free library card. Those that live outside of those designated areas can pay an annual fee, but there are also scholarships available to those who cannot pay the annual fee.  Meeting and event spaces are available to anyone in the community! 

 

Are there any virtual or in-person events that are coming up that are free and open to the public?  

As of now, all library programming is virtual and is free! Our ongoing programs, like story times and book clubs have continued virtually. Every other Saturday morning at 10am, we have a Spanish/English (bilingual) story time featured on our Facebook. I have continued to partner with community partners to connect library patrons via virtual programs to community resources that exist, especially right now in relation to COVID. To stay updated, sign up to receive our monthly newsletter and be checking out our website as well as social media!

Many have yet to venture outside of their homes due to the pandemic into public spaces. What are some of the precautions the library is taking to keep guests safe and healthy?  

Currently, the library is open as a grab-and-go space, where patrons can pick up their books, have 30- minute computer access session, and explore the new expansion space! All are required to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Curbside pick up has continued, which provides an alternative to checking out books. Patrons can reserve library materials online and schedule a time for pick up at the library.

FAYETTEVILLE PUBIC LIBRARY is located at :

401 W Mountain St, Fayetteville, AR 72701

https://www.faylib.org

(479) 856-7000

Diana Dominguez is the Multicultural Community Liaison under the Community Engagement Department at the Fayetteville Public Library.