Practice Deep Listening in Community Conversations

Deep, intentional listening is more important than ever these days. That’s why your Library hosts an ongoing series called Community Conversations, to give you a chance to listen to and learn about others (and let others get to know you!) in a nonjudgmental space.

Community Conversations are facilitated and structured listening circles for people who want to learn and practice their listening skills. Our next conversation is at the Library on Saturday, December 4 from 2-4 p.m.

Registration is required and can be completed here.

Conversations follow the format of traditional listening circles. Participants set the guidelines that govern the circle together. Each person has a designated amount of time to talk and be listened to, and a participant must be holding the “talking piece” to speak.

Conversation themes are left broad so everyone can contribute and explore the topic in their own way. In our conversation on December 4, we’ll talk about Johnson City working to become a designated UNICEF Child Friendly City (CFC).

The Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) is a transformative process in which local government and other stakeholders commit to advancing children’s wellbeing. The City of Johnson City began working to become a UNICEF CFC in November 2020, and your Library is an official partner in the process.

On December 4, we’ll review the data collected by Johnson City’s CFCI leadership team and explore tangible ideas for improving the lives of our community’s children.

JCPL Librarian Lisa Williams will facilitate the conversation to make sure the listening circle format is followed.

Listening circles are active, engaged conversations that elicit honesty and vulnerability in a safe space. They aren’t therapy or study groups, or a space to debate or educate others.

Lisa believes these types of conversations are essential, because deep listening builds empathy, compassion, and kindness toward others. “Listening with the intention of openness is a skill you have to strengthen with practice,” she says. “By the same token, lack of practice makes it atrophy.”

Lisa hopes that participants come away from these conversations understanding that often the most important thing you can do for someone is simply to hear them.

She says, “We forget that we don’t have to fix everything, or have the ‘right’ answer or opinion about everything that’s said to us. Very often your simple presence is a powerful gift in itself, and recognizing that fact is a pretty amazing thing.”

Click here to register for our first Community Conversation on Saturday, December 4!

Contact Lisa Williams at (423) 434-4454 with questions.

Your Library offers a variety of events for adults. Click here to find out what we have coming up!

Visit, call (423) 434-4450, or drop by 100 West Millard Street to use your Library. Follow Johnson City Public Library on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube to receive daily updates on Library collections, services, and programs.

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