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CivicCLP: Community Conversations

This guide provides resources to learn more about civic and community engagement through the Library's programs, services and materials. CivicCLP's objective is to connect the community with resources and information that can lead to actionable steps, as

Community Conversations

Essential Partners practitioner Meg Griffiths offers four simple interventions you can take to shift a conversation from dysfunction and polarization to connection and understanding. Founded in 1989, Essential Partners helps people build relationships across differences to address their communities’ most pressing challenges. Find out more at

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Civic CLP Librarian
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CivicCLP Virtual Resources

First Amendment

First Amendment Center – Freedom Forum Institute

"Our vision is an America where everyone knows, values and defends the freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. The First Amendment protects everyone’s right to express themselves freely and join with others to make their views known. This diversity of voices and perspectives strengthens our nation."

Bill of Rights Institute

"The Bill of Rights Institute teaches civics. We equip students and teachers to live the ideals of a free and just society."

The First Amendment for the Twenty-First Century (The Pittsburgh Foundation)

A recorded conference from June 2018 examined current threats to democracy and how communities can respond.

Intellectual Freedom & Human Right Organisations 

"....a list of international Organizations working within the areas of Access to Information, Freedom of Speech, Intellectual Freedom and related areas." 

Resources for Civil Discourse

The Art of Democracy

"....Innovative community engagement" based in Pittsburgh.

Setting Ground Rules - Civil Discourse and Difficult Decisions

"...Ground rules and the examples written by other students to develop your own norms of civil discourse."

Essential Partners: Reflective Structured Dialogue

"Founded in 1989, Essential Partners helps people build relationships across differences to address their communities’ most pressing challenges.... Reflective Structured Dialogue (RSD) is a research-based, flexible, scalable framework for systemic change. RSD equips people to interrupt dysfunctional dynamics and build relationships across differences in order to address challenges where they live, work, worship, and learn."

Braver Angels

The mission of Braver Angels is to bring Americans together to bridge the partisan divide and strengthen our democratic republic.

What Does Free Speech Mean? (U.S. Courts)

"Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme Court often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The [provided] examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not."

Books on Dialogue and Conversations

The Art of Civilized Conversation

Explore opening lines, graceful apologies, thoughtful questions and, ultimately, the confidence to take conversations beyond hello. 

I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening)

Two working moms from opposite ends of the political spectrum invite those looking for something better than the status quo to pull up a chair and listen to the principles, insights and practical tools they have learned hosting their fast-growing podcast Pantsuit Politics.

How to Have Impossible Conversations

The coauthors distinguish between two types of conversations: those that are oriented toward arriving at truth, and those that may require changing the beliefs of people who do not want their beliefs changed (interventions). They then provide straightforward, practical, conversational techniques for the conversation.

The Lost Art of Good Conversation

One of Tibet’s spiritual leaders offers simple and practical advice to help us increase our attentions spans, become better listeners and strive to appreciate the people around us.

We Need to Talk

Whether you’re struggling to communicate with your kid’s teacher at school, an employee at work or the people you love the most— find strategies that can help you have conversations that matter.

I Never Thought of It That Way

Guzman's approach will help you to have adventurous and downright human conversations with the people in your life who have the most to show you- those whose identities, values, and experiences make them see the world in an entirely different and fascinating way. Along the way, you'll learn that life is best lived with an open mind, and that the world around you is a much nicer place when you're always ready to say, "I never thought of it that way!"

Transformative Civic Engagement Through Community Organizing

Maria Avila offers a vision and process that can lead to creating institutional change in higher education, in communities surrounding colleges and universities, and in society at large.This book is a narrative of her personal and professional journey and of how she has gone about co-creating spaces where democracy can be enacted and individual, institutional, and community transformation can occur.