September 24th, 2018

Library Chat: Vital Conversations provides valuable look at our community

By Medicine Hat News on September 14, 2018.

The library has been participating in the planning of Vital Conversations, an event which is happening in Medicine Hat in a couple weeks.This is a streamlined version of the Vital Signs initiative which has been happening yearly for some time. Vital Conversations might be a little more condensed but it is still an important and valuable opportunity to study the community, see what is going on and plan effective responses.

The tagline for Vital Conversations is “exploring issues, opportunities and solutions.”Nine issues are up for discussion: Gap Between Rich and Poor;Health; Safety; Learning; Housing; Getting Started/Belonging; Creative and Active Living; Business, Employment & Economy; and Community Builders.These seem mostly self evident.Getting Started/Belonging refers to newcomers and others integrating, putting down roots and becoming part of the community.Creative and Active Living refers to artistic, cultural and recreational opportunities.Community Builders refers to the development of leaders in the community.

Vital Conversations will be held at Beveridge Landmark Events, 620 Second St. S.E. from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 4.There will be stations set up for each of the nine issues and participants can go from station to station, participating in a hosted conversation. Library staff will be working the Learning station since that issue is particularly important for us.

There is a charge of $25 to attend the event but that does include lunch.The fee ensures that no social agency has to bear the cost of hosting the event.Anyone who requires financial assistance to attend can request it from the Community Foundation of Southeast Alberta (admin@cfsea.ca or 403-527-9038.

If you can’t attend the event, there is an online survey which is free and easy.The survey can be found at http://bit.ly/ VitalConversationsSurvey. A Vital Conversations Report will be available in early 2019.

I strongly encourage Hatters to participate in the conversation at the event or through the survey. The results will influence the delivery of services by public agencies throughout the city.The library, for example, will use Vital Conversations data when it writes its next Plan of Service.We can’t do everything we would like to.Money doesn’t grow on trees and it comes out of the ground a little less easily than it used to.We will have to set priorities for the foreseeable future.If you want a say in how services are delivered in the next year and beyond, speak up now while you have the chance.

Ken Feser is chief librarian at the Medicine Hat Public Library.

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