NYC Anarchist Book Fair 2008
The Importance of Community Needs Assessment in Activist Work
12 April 2008
Community needs assessments are powerful and useful tools for first identifying the requirements and desires of a population, and then tailoring efforts to best meet those needs, while continually collaborating with the invested parties. Whether you are inside, outside, or somewhere in between the communities you're organizing with, we hope this discussion will illuminate ways to be a more effective activist and respond to broader needs. Anarchists frequently work with groups they may not be members of, (i.e. communities of color, impoverished populations) and it is vital that anarchists continually involve members from these groups all along the way. This workshop will provide theory and strategy for community needs assessments, including identifying the situation / problem / desired outcome, creating community-generated strategies, where members feel personally invested, and working together and collaborating to improve situations for all, while constantly evaluating if it works and relates to the group it is meant to assist.
Heather McCann is a reference librarian in the Boston area and a constant event planner. As a person who frequently works with users outside her demographic, she understands firsthand the importance of determining a person's needs and how to meet those needs with them rather than for them.
Lana Thelen works as an outreach librarian in Boston and is also a volunteer reference librarian for Radical Reference. She has experience with community needs assessments both professionally and personally and believes they are an effective tool for participating
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