Posted on April 6, 2021
After making the transition to online Learning Circles to prevent the spread of COVID, the initiative organized several virtual study groups from mid to late-2020. Learning Circles is a collaborative project organized by the UNCG Department of Communication Studies, the Greensboro Public Library (GPL), and Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU).
“It was…impressive to see both the library and Peer 2 Peer University quickly adapting the entire project to an online format. Their organizations displayed lots of resilience in 2020!” said Dr. Cris Damasceno, an assistant professor in the UNCG Department of Communication Studies and faculty liaison for the Learning Circles project.
From June to July of 2020, the GPL offered four virtual learning circles for its patrons on the topics: job preparedness and career development, memoir and personal essay, design thinking for innovation, and scratch coding for kids. Of the offerings, three targeted adults.
Later in the year, from September to December, the GPL offered another four virtual learning circles, including technical support fundamentals, sharpened visions: poetry for all, and two opportunities for the 21-day racial justice and social justice challenge. All of these sessions targeted adults. The 21-day racial justice and social justice challenge was offered twice due to popular demand.
Looking back on the work accomplished in 2020, Damasceno said, “One of the things that stood out for me was the Greensboro Public Library’s ability to reach out to diverse patrons and the librarian’s ability to create an inclusive environment within each Learning Circle.”
Beth Sheffield, the GPL community partner working alongside Damasceno, shared more about the far-reaching inclusion of the past Learning Circles.
“We’ve had people of color, [people] who have been directly involved in the civil rights movement. We have had some immigrants,” she said. “The great thing about doing this program on Zoom is we’ve actually had one person from a different country attend our programming. That’s the wonderful thing about Peer 2 Peer University and the Greensboro Learning Circle project as it kind of opens Greensboro up to the world.”