The Best Coffee in Town

Caroline Zakarian, Librarian, Lifelong Learning Department,
coffee cup and croissant

The “best coffee in town.” That’s one of the comments overheard when we recently stopped by our weekly Coffee & Conversation Life Skills Group.

The Coffee & Conversation idea came about while serving clients at The Source, a free monthly event that provides personal one-on-one assistance from a variety of mental health organizations. The Department of Mental Health (DMH) recognized the need for a support group at the library. They wanted the group to be about life skills and lifelong challenges and struggles—forgiveness, anger, time management, depression—which at times can be difficult to talk about with family and friends.

With a personable topic and a friendly environment, participants are able to share their experiences and have an open-minded discussion. The group draws about 8-10 people. The conversation usually starts with an activity led by a DMH staff member. They have had a lot of success in drawing participants looking for coffee and wanting to have a conversation about their feelings in a supportive space.

On a recent visit, the group was listening to music while coloring and having an enthusiastic conversation. Some of the other comments heard from participants were, “it’s a good way to say how you’re feeling without being judged,” “people learn from each other,” and “it’s a relaxing and welcoming environment, where people have free-flowing conversations while enjoying a cup of coffee.” They meet most Tuesdays from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Central Library.

The Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Branch has a similar Coffee & Conversation Group that started last fall and meets every other Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. DMH staff members get to know the patrons and become familiar with many of the regular participants.The same team from DMH leads the session each time, so it’s been a wonderful partnership.

If you are in the library and just want to talk, come to the Coffee & Conversation Group. Check our online calendar for future dates and times, and the Stable Living Resouces page for more information about this program.