Of/By/For All

September 8, 2018 | By: Communications Staff

The St. Joseph County Public Library has been selected to participate in the First Wave of the OF/BY/FOR ALL project. Founded by Nina Simon at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH), OF/BY/FOR ALL is a global movement to help organizations become more inclusive of their communities.

Out of 72 applicants, SJCPL is one of twenty-one organizations from around the world chosen to join this research initiative. The founding cohort is composed of diverse organizations—6 museums, 5 performing arts organizations, 3 parks, 3 community centers, and 3 public libraries, including SJCPL.

Beginning in October, the Library will embark on this six-month program. Organizations in the First Wave will help develop and test tools to be used in the larger OF/BY/FOR ALL movement. As part of the First Wave, the Library will be on the forefront of testing new frameworks for community engagement and will be able to utilize new techniques and technology.

By participating in this program, SJCPL will dedicate itself to serving our diverse community by forging new pathways and starting new conversations with groups who may not currently feel at home in the Library.

According to SJCPL Executive Director Deb Futa, “A great library plays a role not only in the lives of individuals, but in the larger framework of a community as a whole. We can and should be leaders, and we have the potential to be great levelers—places defined not by building walls but by building bridges that allow our community members to grow stronger together. I see the OF/BY/FOR ALL movement as a way to help us co-create those conversations that truly lead to meaningful understanding.”

The genesis of OF/BY/FOR ALL occured in 2011 when Executive Director Nina Simon turned a museum on the verge of closing into a successful community center. Simon devised a transformative approach that positioned the MAH into an organization that was truly representative of its community, in the demographics of its staff and board, its programs and exhibits, and its attendance.


OF/BY/FOR ALL is an initiative of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. The vision for this movement is to encourage organizations to become more of, by, and for their communities. The initiative has set a goal to build a network of 200 organizations serving 10 million community members. In 2018, 21 organizations were selected to participate in the First Wave cohort. More information about the First Wave and the OF/BY/FOR ALL movement is available at ofbyforall.org.

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