Empowering Voices, Transforming Communities: An Initiative of ALA President Molly Raphael

Empoweing Voices Transforming Communities logo

Molly Raphael, 2011-2012 ALA PresidentBuilding on the advocacy initiatives of previous ALA Presidents, Molly Raphael’s Presidential Initiative focused on engaging our communities to advocate for libraries and their value, based on factors that matter to communities and their leaders.

Libraries of all types need to rely on partners in the community to advocate on their behalf more than ever before. To make that happen, the library community first needs to know what will motivate these potential partners. What are the aspirational goals of our communities? What do we need to do to transform libraries and librarianship? How do we create active advocacy campaigns in each of our communities that is empowering our constituents to speak out for libraries?

Join the conversation! Visit ALA Connect to join the Empowering Voices, Transforming Communities Conversation, which began at the 2012 ALA Midwinter Meeting

Tips for Starting the Conversation



"Passing the Community Engagement Baton: A Conversation with ALA President Molly Raphael & Incoming ALA President Maureen Sullivan"

Hosted by ALA 2013-2014 ALA President Barbara Stripling on June 8, 2012, this webinar featured an unprecedented conversation among ALA leadership, focusing on the transition of presidential initiatives and a continued focus on civic engagement. 

“The more we in libraries engage with the communities we serve, the better we can understand how the library can contribute to transforming those communities,” said 2011-2012 ALA President Molly Raphael. “By really understanding the priorities of communities, we can ensure that libraries contribute to communities thriving in the 21st century.”

Raphael started the conversation about harnessing the evolving role of libraries and strengthening the library’s understanding of community aspirations during her presidential year. This webinar allowed attendees to be part of the conversation as ALA President Elect Maureen Sullivan looks to build on this idea of civic engagement during her presidential year, which begins at the close of the 2012 ALA Annual Conference in June.

“Libraries are central to community engagement and ALA is uniquely positioned to prepare its members in all types of libraries to be leaders in community collaboration to solve problems and improve the life of the community. Rich Harwood of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation will partner with ALA to develop an ALA program that will enable us to realize ‘the promise of libraries in transforming communities,’” said Sullivan.

Barbara Stripling is Co-Chair of Raphael’s Empowering Voices, Transforming Communities task force and was just elected ALA President for the 2013-2014 year. She facilitated this discussion on how to engage communities to advocate for libraries and their value based on factors that matter to communities and their leaders.

Visit http://ala.adobeconnect.com/com-engage-6-12-2/ to view a recording of this webinar. 

"Engaging Communities through Controversy"

During the May 10 webinar, Diane McNutt and Jane Light, Silicon Valley Reads, described this library’s "one book-one community" program in Santa Clara (Calif.) County. Its 2012 program, "Muslim and American -Two Perspectives," featured two books written by American Muslims, ("The Muslim Next Door" by Sumbul Ali-Karamali and "The Butterfly Mosque" by G. Willow Wilson). More than 100 programs were presented, including author readings, panel discussions, films, an open house evening at a local mosque and an art exhibit. Presented by the San Jose Public Library Foundation, the Santa Clara County Office of Education and the Santa Clara County Library, the goal is to stimulate learning and discussion throughout the community on a topic or theme of importance to the Silicon Valley.

June Pinnell-Stephens, retired collection services manager, Fairbanks (Alaska) North Star Borough Public Library, shared success stories on how to get your community to “stop shouting and start talking” about intellectual freedom issues. 

Jos N. Holman, member of the ALA President Molly Raphael’s Empowering Voices, Transforming Communities committee and county librarian, Tippecanoe County Public Library, led the webinar. Visit http://ala.adobeconnect.com/p73m10w3woi/to view a recording of this webinar.

“Transforming Libraries”

Visionary professor R. David Lankes, author of  the award-winning “Atlas of New Librarianship,” and Barbara Stripling, Co-Chair of ALA President Molly Raphael’s Empowering Voices, Transforming Communities initiative, presented a free webinar on Thursday, March 8, 2012 designed to stimulate conversation about harnessing the evolving role of libraries and strengthening the librarian’s voice to help shape community perception. Visit http://ala.adobeconnect.com/tl/ to view a recording of this webinar.

Check back for monthly webinars showcasing how libraries of all types, around the country, are engaging their communities.

Empowering Voices: Engaging Communities to Speak for Libraries
Public Library Assn. Conference, March 15, 2012 in Philadelphia