California Center for the Book
Community Conversations with Veterans 2019 - Toolkit
Last Updated: July 18, 2019
Community Conversations with Veterans is a partnership between California Center for the Book and Veterans Connect @ the Library. We are offering 15 California libraries the opportunity to connect more closely with veterans and their families, while also helping veterans and their families connect to the community and resources.
Expand the reach of your Veterans Resource Center with funding for books and community programs through California Center for the Book! Collaborate with a community partner and fellow librarians to design programs that promote the Veterans Resource Center and reach veterans and their families in your community. Libraries who currently provide or plan to provide Veterans Resource Centers at their location will be given preference in the application process.
Programming Inspiration, Background Reading, and Possible Partners
This Programming Librarian blog post, NYPL’s Community Conversations: Dialogue-Driven Programming is highly recommended reading. A 1-hour webinar is also available and links to the Libraries Transforming Communities resources for more information.
Community Conversations with Veterans programs, designed in collaboration with your community partner, might include: interpretive or interactive exhibits & other arts-related activities and discussions, readings/speaker discussions, panel discussions, film viewings and discussions, book discussions, workshops (writing, poetry, other), oral history projects, restorative/trauma informed yoga workshops or presentations, mental or physical health related panel discussions, workshops or presentations, and civic engagement or volunteer projects that encourage conversation and discussion during or after the activity. Input and feedback from partners, veterans, and the War Comes Home project staff demonstrates that arts programming is an effective conduit for dialogue and discussion.
Please be sure to review the Programming Ideas and Resources information from the Veterans Connect @ the Library project. Reach out to your local community college Veterans Resource Center coordinator or CSU/UC Veterans Resource Center coordinator and any related departments (art, social work, nursing, mental health) as you develop and market your programs. Explore the resources and booklist below for ideas. Consult the Military and Veterans Events Calendar from the Veterans Connect @ the Library project for possible tie-ins. For example, March 13 is National K9 Day, the third week of March is Women’s Military History Week, May is National Military Appreciation Month, and June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day. Speak with your community partner about programming paths and marketing. Be sure to invite your city council, county officials, and any California legislators in your area. Remember, your TWO Community Conversations with Veterans programs must take place between January - June. Share your ideas with us and we’ll add them here!
- Combat Paper - San Francisco based project that transforms military uniforms into handmade paper. Drew (of Combat Paper) may be available for workshops and/or exhibitions at libraries.
- Coming Home - From NEH. The Coming Home project offers military veterans the opportunity to explore the moral, psychological, and spiritual impacts of war on the warrior as she or he returns home.
- Connected Warriors - Connected Warriors mission is to empower Service members, Veterans and their Families worldwide through Trauma-Conscious Yoga.
- Eleven The Movie (Documentary) - Eleven surviving WWII Veterans from Carrier Air Group 11 share stories with the grandson of one of their comrade-in-arms. Producer/Director, George Retelas, is based in the Bay Area and is also available for travel to the Modesto/Sacramento area for library screenings.
- Listen 2 A Veteran Project - Reduces the common chasms between veterans and non-veterans through the simple act of a non-veteran listening to a veteran from any era.
- Mil-Tree - Mil-Tree’s mission is to bring veterans, active duty, and civilians together through arts and dialogue to help transform the wounds of war. Example of local organization (Morongo Basin) working with similar goals.
- Mindful Warrior Project - Nonprofit that provides mindfulness training and free events for veterans and their families in the greater Los Angeles area.
- National Conversation Project - Started as a National Conversation Week in 2018, this movement is moving into ongoing monthly conversations and larger National Weeks of Conversation in October 2018 and April 2019.
- Operation Gratitude - Every year, Operation Gratitude sends 300,000+ individually addressed care packages to military, to their children left behind, wounded heroes, and their caregivers. Through collection drives, letter writing campaigns, craft projects, and care package assembly events, Operation Gratitude provides civilians anywhere in America a way to say “Thank You” through active, hands-on volunteerism.
- Poets & Writers - California Center for the Book partners with Poets & Writers on other events in California. Contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jamie Fitzgerald (email@example.com) about writing workshops for veterans in your area.
- Returning Soldiers Speak - A venue for soldiers and veterans of all conflicts and wars to tell their stories through the spoken word so we who are left behind can listen to what they have to tell.
- Shelter to Soldier - One example of many nonprofits linking veterans to service and support animals. This particular agency’s mission is to bring post-9/11 combat veterans together with trained, rescue dogs to help both recover and move forward.
- StoryCenter - Offers workshops, listening stations, and training for libraries interested in listening to and sharing stories.
- StoryCorps Military Voices Initiative - The Military Voices Initiative provides a platform for veterans, service members, and military families to share their stories. In doing so we honor their voices, amplify their experiences, and let them know that we—as a nation—are listening. Record and archive a conversation anywhere with the free StoryCorp app (with user guide).
- Traveling Stanzas - Digital tools to engage in meaningful conversations around a central topic or theme. There is an opportunity for libraries interested in utilizing the Emerge tool as a basis for conversations, workshops, and/or exhibits. Using an iPad and pre-loaded text (primary source, speech, interview, etc) your community members can create Emerge poems.
- United States Veterans’ Artist Alliance - USVAA provides opportunities for veterans in the arts by highlighting the work of veterans in the arts, humanities and entertainment industry along with the contributions veterans have made to the rich cultural history of our nation since the Revolutionary War. Additionally, USVAA networks with veterans, artists, supportive individuals and organizations within the arts and veterans’ communities to find funding and support for individual artistic projects in theater, film, television, the visual/fine arts and a wide variety of crafts. Keith from USVAA may be available to recommend local veterans in the arts for workshops etc.
- Veteran Voices: California legislative hearing reveals stories of ‘post-traumatic strength’ through creative expression - Article by California Arts Council, June 2018. Lists partner and programming ideas, plus provides background information.
- Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace - An anthology edited by Maxine Hong Kingston. Website includes Resources and How to Start a Veterans Writing Group.
- Veterans Book Club at Indiana University South Bend - Discussion questions for Here, Bullet, Anatomy of a Soldier, and more. Also includes links to documentaries and programming ideas.
- Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress - The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
- Veterans in the Arts- Program through California Arts Council. The Veterans in the Arts program is rooted in the California Arts Council’s desire to address the needs and improve the lives of California's veterans through the arts. VIA seeks to increase equity, access, and opportunities for veterans to participate in quality arts programming that is sensitive and responsive to their unique experiences.
- Veterans Make Movies - Presented by LACMA in collaboration with the Los Angeles Public Library, Veterans Make Movies is a three-year initiative consisting of filmmaking workshops, screenings, and community events focused on highlighting the veteran experience.
- Veterans Writing Group of San Diego County - Offers programming model and resources for creating local veterans groups. Contact Ron Pickett: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Veterans Writing Project - provides no-cost writing seminars and workshops for veterans, service members, and their adult family members. We’re also building an archive of writing by members of the military community. Quarterly literary review and an ongoing scroll of writing at O-Dark-Thirty.
- Veterans Yoga Project - An educational and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of military veterans. Lists local teachers.
- Visions of Warriors (Documentary) - In “Visions of Warriors,” four veterans from the Vietnam War era to the Iraq War participate in the groundbreaking Veteran Photo Recovery Project at the VA Menlo Park and use innovative photography therapy to treat their mental illness. Ming Lai (producer, writer, director) is LA based and may be available for library screenings. Involve your community partner in moderating a screening and discussion. DVD, library license, discussion guide, and press kit included with program materials. See above.
- War Comes Home - From Cal Humanities. Launched in 2014, the War Comes Home initiative was launched to help veterans strengthen connections to their communities, and vice versa, and increase awareness and understanding of the impacts of war. Programs included interviews with veterans, statewide read of Vietnam War veteran and scholar, Karl Marlantes’ What It Is Like To go To War and author tour, thematic public conversations and much more. See the Discussion Guide for a scholar essay, discussion questions, interview with the author, and supplementary reading and viewing list.
- Warrior Writers - A community of military veterans, service members, artists, allies, and healers dedicated to creativity and wellness. We use writing, painting, photography, and a host of other mediums to reflect on our experiences and express them creatively. Warrior Writers is a national non-profit organization, based in Philadelphia, with members and activities across the country. Bay Area connections.
- Women Veterans Alliance - WVA was founded in 2015 to bring women veterans together to equip, empower and encourage each other. Currently 6 California Chapters.
- Wounded Warrior CARE events | NationSwell Article on CARE event featuring improv for veterans and their caregivers: Laughter an Unlikely Medicine for America’s Veterans
Help us build the Community Conversations with Veterans booklist! See also the Veterans Connect @ the Library Recommended Books. Thank you to Ingram Library Services collection development librarians for building and sharing the Veterans & Military Families list, from which we borrowed! The titles below have been recommended and will ship direct to libraries from Ingram Library Services, which the exception of the Visions of Warriors DVD which will ship from the production company to your library. Let us know what books might inspire conversations with veterans and community members, and what might support your programming for Community Conversations with Veterans.
15 Years of War: How the Longest War in U.S. History Affected a Military Family in Love, Loss, and the Cost of Service
The Beauty of a Darker Soul: Overcoming Trauma Through the Power of Human Connections
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
Van Der Kolk, Bessel
Craig & Fred: A Marine, a Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other
Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier’s Story
Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit
Martinez, JR; Fleming, Alexandra Rockey
The Honor Was Mine: A Look Inside the Struggles of Military Veterans
Journey: Memoirs of an Air Force Chief of Staff
Schwartz, General Norty
The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War
Leaving War, Finding Love: A Veteran's Transition
The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows
Mission Entrepreneur: Applying Lessons from Military Life to Create Success in Business Startups
Redeployed: How Combat Veterans Can Fight the Battle Within and Win the War at Home
Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital
Kraft, Heidi Squier
Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman's Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front
Hegar, Mary Jennings
Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War
Thank You for Your Service
The Things They Carried
Touching the Dragon: And Other Techniques for Surviving Life's Wars
Hatch, James; D'Andrea, Christian
Tough as They Come
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
Tuesday's Promise: One Veteran, One Dog, and Their Bold Quest to Change Lives
Montalvan, Luis Carlos; Henican, Ellis
U.S. Veterans in the Workforce: Why the 7 Percent Are America's Greatest Assets
Vets and Pets: Wounded Warriors and the Animals That Help Them Heal
Guerin, Dava; Ferris, Kevin; et al.
Visions of Warriors - DVD. Includes screening rights, discussion guide (email for password) and press kit. See info above about CA producer/director program option. Ships direct to libraries.
Lai, Ming, Producer
War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars
The War at Home: A Wife's Search for Peace (and Other Missions Impossible): A Memoir
What It Is Like to Go to War
When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans
Caplan, Paula J
When the War Never Ends: The Voices of Military Members with PTSD and Their Families
The White Donkey: Terminal Lance
2020 Book list Suggestions/Additions include (to date):
- Away for the Holidays by Veterans’ Writing Group of San Diego County
- Listen Up! Things I Learned from the Military by Veterans’ Writing Group of San Diego County
- Siege of Khe Sanh by Robert Pisor
- Returning Soldiers Speak: An Anthology of Prose and Poetry by Soldiers and Veterans, Edited by Leilani Squire
- A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo
- Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, Edited by Maxine Hong Kingston
- Vietnam: A History by Stanley Karnow
IMLS and Statewide Aligned Program Goals & Outcomes - Required Surveys
- Outcome 2b: Californians discover and participate in learning opportunities at the library
- Outcome 3c: Californians connect and collaborate through their library
Feedback from patrons is essential. Survey results can also be used to fine-tune future programs and demonstrate the program value for your community, your library, and CCFB. For each Community Conversations with Veterans program you hold, distribute and gather the surveys, record the number of participants, and plan to report those online by JULY 15, 2020. There will be a brief final report that you’ll complete online for California Center for the Book.
Sharing and Marketing
- Be sure to join the CCFB Librarians Group on Facebook and like the public CCFB Facebook page at @CaliforniaCenterfortheBook
- Tag and follow @CaliforniaCenterfortheBook on Facebook and Instagram
- Use the hashtag #CommunityConversationsWithVeterans in your promotions
- See the CCFB Promotions page for the most recent CCFB logo, URL note, IMLS support statement, social media and hashtags for inclusion in your program promotions.
Contribute to this Toolkit
The Californians: Community Conversations with Veterans Toolkit is a living document. We welcome your ideas and additions! Please let us know how we can improve this toolkit by dropping a line to email@example.com.
California Center for the Book is a program of the California Library Association, supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.