Over the last two years, many people have been physically and emotionally isolated by the pandemic. Will Glenn Sr., the first Black Teen Services Librarian at Goodman South Madison Library, wanted to do something to help and encourage people to reconnect with their neighbors. He developed a program called It Takes A Village that debuted last summer in Penn Park.
The program is an opportunity for people on the south side of Madison to come together around food, music, and activities while connecting with community organizations. Glenn said, “The main reason it is important is it provides a sense of community. It links a lot of people together with a lot of different resources.”
Glenn is a Milwaukee native who earned an undergraduate degree in sociology with a minor in human resource management and a master’s degree in organizational management and leadership from Springfield College at a satellite site in Milwaukee.
Glenn started It Takes A Village as a standalone event of the Madison Public Library, but this year it grew in collaboration with the City of Madison and the Parks Alive initiative. Now the event features more community partners, free food trucks, and a professional DJ.
The events included voter registration, COVID vaccines, and more local resources alongside family fun. Glenn is excited that It Takes A Village is happening again this year.
“Post pandemic, to be able to get some of these people and resources together was very crucial,” said Glenn, who is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. “I feel very good about that. It was created in a spirit of community and the community came out.”
As a librarian, he spends most of his time in the Goodman South Madison Library. He added, “Everybody initially links the library to books, but this is a perfect example of how us working at the library do other things in addition to providing knowledge through the books.”
It Takes A Village pulled over 15 organizations together in one place, so families could connect with local schools, city departments, Urban Triage, and even WORT FM radio. The Dream Bus ̶ a mobile library ̶ was on site offering crafts, library card sign ups, and book checkouts.
Families also enjoyed face painting, bilingual story time, magnet making, and liquid nitrogen ice cream. Glenn emphasized, “it’s a full day if you’re a parent or guardian. You could just come to the park and you got a full day worth of events. And this is just the beginning.”
About Madison Public Library
Madison Public Library’s tradition of promoting education, literacy and community involvement has enriched the City of Madison for more than 145 years. Visit the library online at madisonpubliclibrary.org, @madisonpubliclibrary on Facebook, @madisonlibrary on Twitter, or @madisonpubliclibrary on Instagram.