ALA 2015 Annual Conference programs to help libraries lead positive community change

For Immediate Release
Thu, 05/14/2015


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office


CHICAGO — All communities have challenges. Libraries are uniquely positioned to help conquer them — given the right tools.

The American Library Association (ALA) will offer a series of free learning sessions at its 2015 Annual Conference that will help libraries leverage their trusted position in the community to engage people on issues that matter. This is the last time these sessions will be offered at an ALA national conference.

The 2015 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition will be held June 25 to 30 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

Offered in partnership with The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, the four “Turning Outward to Lead Change in Your Community” sessions will demonstrate practical tools to aid in decision-making, facilitation and leadership. Each session focuses on a single tool; taken together, they become a powerful framework for engaging community and leading change.

All sessions will be held on Saturday, June 27, in the Moscone Convention Center Esplanade 301-303. Attend one session or all four:

Libraries and library professionals around the country are using the “turning outward” approach to:

  • lead conversations with community members to better understand their goals and concerns;
  • develop library strategic plans that benefit the library and the greater community;
  • connect with underserved segments of the library’s service area;
  • overcome political gridlock; and
  • create professional development opportunities that meet the library system’s needs.

View the learning materials from these sessions, as well as free webinars, training guides and more, at All session attendees will receive a free workbook to continue the process back at home.

The community engagement techniques shared in LTC are based on the Harwood Institute’s “turning outward” practice, which emphasizes shifting the institutional and professional orientation of libraries and librarians from internal to external.

These sessions are offered as part of Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC), an ALA initiative that seeks to strengthen libraries’ roles as community leaders and change-agents by developing and distributing tools to help library professionals connect with their communities in new ways. The initiative is made possible through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The “Turning Outward” series has been offered at three previous ALA and Public Library Association (PLA) conferences since 2014. Similar trainings are now taking place at state library associations around the country.