Library set to ‘Engage Suffolk’

Published 10:50 pm Monday, January 22, 2018

Whether you live, work or play in Suffolk, you can get involved this Saturday with local organizations, network and even “check out” someone with a fresh perspective.

Library staff are planning the inaugural “Engage Suffolk,” a free, all-ages gathering with interactive and fun resources from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at the North Suffolk Library, 2000 Bennetts Creek Park Road.

Inspired by “Engage Norfolk,” the library event will have informational booths and tables for more than 30 organizations. Attendees will learn more about Black Lives Matter Hampton Roads, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance and more.

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This also offers high school students more opportunities to earn community service hours.

“We brainstormed a diverse array of organizations that might be interesting ways to start giving back,” said Megan Mulvey, library outreach and program services manager. “We know people have lots of different interests, so we wanted to cover that with the organizations that we chose.”

An arts display will boast an “identity tapestry” on a wooden panel with about 100 screws, each with a label. These labels are individual characteristics ranging from sexual orientation to political beliefs.

Participants will guide lengths of string around these markers that represent them to form a geographic outline of Suffolk itself, Library Services Coordinator Angela Martin said.

“It’s a visual representation of how all of us combine into one Suffolk community,” Martin said.

For service projects, attendees can make fleece scarves for the needy, greeting cards for nursing home patients, place mats for Suffolk Meals on Wheels clients or cheerful notes to hide inside library books, Community Services Librarian Amy Brunson said.

People have volunteered to be part of the “Human Library” to share their unique experiences. This living collection will include a visually impaired marathon runner, a former drug addict turned prevention specialist and members of the Nansemond Indian tribe and the Islamic Center of Hampton Roads.

“It’s a way to challenge stereotypes,” Martin said.

There will be collection box at the North Suffolk Library for donations going to charitable groups like The Genieve Shelter or the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. There will also be collection boxes at Morgan Memorial and Chuckatuck libraries.

Speaker Andrew Hund will explain how to “Give a Voice to Your Cause” from 11:30 a.m. to noon, and Emily Crawford will share how to “Be a Global Citizen: The Peace Corps Experience” from 12:15 to 1 p.m. Mayor Linda Johnson will deliver the keynote address from 1:15 to 2 p.m.

Visit suffolkpubliclibrary.com or call 514-7313 for more information.