In seeking to build community, the Pioneer Library System is working with the City of Norman on a new program series that will expand that community in a global way.
Through a partnership between Norman Public Library Central and the City of Norman comes the Sister City Chats Series, a six-week event highlighting Clermont-Ferrand, France, which is one of Norman’s Sister Cities.
The series debuts from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27, and runs at that time weekly through Tuesday, June 1. The talks will take place via Zoom and can be accessed through the library Events Calendar at pioneerlibrarysystem.org/calendar.
Norman Mayor Breea Clark facilitated this idea of conducting a series connecting residents of the two cities via Zoom chats, by engaging the Pioneer Library System and the international community along with the group Passports: Norman’s International and Sister Cities Organization, which works to promote and advance international relations between Norman and communities around the world.
The mayor has collaborated with the library on past projects, including multiple community book discussions she has led, and that partnership again was a fit for this project. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, PLS programming has transitioned to a virtual setting similar to what will be used here.
The plan for the weekly chats is to have multiple Zoom sessions running simultaneously, giving local residents a chance to interact with their counterparts on the other side of the world, who will be joining at about 7 in the evening in their country. One chat will be primarily conducted in French, one in English and one will be a hybrid of both languages.
Norman Public Library Central Branch Manager Caroline Dulworth will join Paulina Dri-Rabell, International Relations Officer for the Clermont-Ferrand International Relations Center, as hosts for the chats.
Clermont-Ferrand is one of four Sister Cities to Norman, alongside Colima, Mexico; Seika, Japan; and Arezzo, Italy. All fall under the Sister Cities International umbrella, a nonprofit organization involved with more than 3,100 cities in more than 120 countries participating in Sister City relationships.
Norman and Clermont-Ferrand first established their relationship in 1987, signing an official “Sister City” agreement in 1994.
The hope is if this series is successful, to perhaps try something like it in the future for each of Norman’s Sister Cities.
This also is a natural way for participants or any community members to get ready for future interactions with help from the Mango Languages service offered by the library. Mango Languages provides tutorials for more than 70 languages, as well as English as a Second Language. It’s available for library card holders and is one of more than 60 databases offered by the library.
Find out more about any of the library’s programs and services by going online to pioneerlibrarysystem.org, or through the Pioneer Library System Connect App, available via the Apple Store or Google Play.