Tips for Starting the Conversation

Empowering Voices logo

Tips for Starting the Conversation

Engage your community members in the conversation about their aspirations and priorities and what they would like to see in their libraries.

  • Identify target constituencies within your community
  • Conduct World CafĂ© conversations (
  • Conduct focus groups with targeted constituencies
  • Do outreach to community groups

Engage your library staff and community in rethinking your library services/programs around these questions:

  • What services does the library provide to help the community attain its goals/meet its priorities?
  • What priorities is the library not meeting?  What could the library do to help a community grow like it wants to grow?
  • Who is not being served by the library?
  • Who is not at the table in this discussion who should be at the table?

How can the library transform to meet these new expectations?

  • Set realistic goals for changing to services/programs that more closely match the priorities of your community.
  • Start with one goal:
    • What outcome do you hope to achieve?
    • Who needs to be involved?
    • What resources/capacities are required?
    • What can you stop doing to provide time for this goal?
    • What will success look like?
    • How long will it take before you see success?

How can you empower your community members who benefit from this goal to speak up for libraries?

  • Develop a marketing campaign
  • Ask for testimonials
  • Recruit well-known spokespeople
  • Provide a frame and opportunities – equipment setup; brochures for drop-in quotes; library blogs