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United States. Office of the US High Commissioner for Germany. Management and Budget Division / The America Houses, a study of the U.S. Information Center in Germany

IV. C. Community relationships,   p. 125 PDF (447.7 KB)

Page 125

Without exception, the America Houses have been successful in
establishing themselves as cultural institutions. This is basic to
the acceptance of an effective operation of a foreign nation in a
German community. A gratifying community relationship has grown up
in those instances where the America House has Jointly sponsored
programs with other groups in the community.
The problem now is not to increase the community acceptance of
the America Houses but rather to capitalize on their position in
attaining the Public Affairs objectives without becoming too much of
a general civic institution. It has been a temptation to become so
enshed in performing functions as a community cultural institution
that the Houses are frequently prone to weigh program desirability
first in terms of what the community finds most popular rather than
in terms of promoting Public Affairs objectives.
Use of America Houses by Local Organizations
During the difficult post-war rehabilitation years when meeting
places for organizations were difficult to find, the America Houses
followed a liberal policy in making their facilities available. This
was and is good. The practice serves both as a civic service and as
a means of drawing visitors inside the America Houses. The idea
should be continued, but a consistent policy should be followed to
capitalize on it. Something more is called for than space and jani-
tori al service. This does not imply that the America Houses should
insist on tightly tailoring program  of organizations to its ow
activities, but there are many subtle as well as direct opportunities
to capitalize on the presence of other groups. Splendid opportunities
are afforded to make bibliographies, films, pamphlets, and exhibits
either directly or indirectly available to these organizations.
The Director in the Community
The need for caution in the director's personal relationships with
the community is apparent.  He must have intimate contacts, and usually
does, with the leaders of the community, and he must participate in
cmunity activities.    The call for caution stems from the natural ten-
dency to follow too avidly the philosophy of "to see and be seen"
the coumunity. If followed without selectivity, it is easy for a
director to find his time and energy vitiated with so many community
affairs that sufficient time is not left to perform the f  anwaal
Public Affairs program.
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