ALA, Harwood Institute announce Public Innovators Lab for Libraries community engagement training opportunity

For Immediate Release
Tue, 07/07/2015

Contact:

Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office

312-280-5061

sostman@ala.org

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) and The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation have announced an intensive three-day training opportunity to help libraries strengthen their role as agents of positive change in their communities.   

The Public Innovators Lab for Libraries will be held Oct. 14 - 16 at the DoubleTree Detroit Downtown – Fort Shelby. Librarians, community partners and stakeholders in libraries of all types — public, academic, school and specialty libraries — are encouraged to register.

Through discussions, hands-on activities and collaborations with like-minded library professionals, participants will learn to:

  • tap libraries' natural values to contribute to the greater good and bring their communities together;
  • surface people’s shared aspirations for their communities through conversations and help bring them to life; and
  • use that knowledge to create programs and strategies to address challenges people care about and make the community stronger at the same time.

Participants must register online by Oct. 2. The cost is $1,495 for the first person from an organization and $995 for each additional person. Team participation is encouraged.

For more information, visit ala.org/LTC.

The ALA-Harwood Institute partnership is based on the idea that libraries, by virtue of their trusted position in their communities, are uniquely suited to help solve challenges of all types, from literacy to drug epidemics to distrust in government.

The Public Innovators Lab for Libraries will be based on Harwood’s “turning outward” approach, which emphasizes making the community the reference point for getting things done. This shift in orientation is achieved through practical steps: taking measures to better understand communities; being proactive about community issues; and putting community ambitions first.

The lab was recently enhanced to be even more hands-on, applied and practical. In May, nearly 300 Texas librarians participated in three new labs through a partnership between The Harwood Institute and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Libraries and library professionals around the country are already using The Harwood Institute’s approach to:

  • lead conversations with community members to better understand the kind of community they want and the challenges they see;
  • bring stakeholders together to get past gridlock and work on issues that matter to people;
  • improve library programming to be more relevant and connected to the struggles people face; and
  • better connect with underserved and often invisible populations in communities.

The Public Innovators Lab for Libraries is offered as part of the ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) initiative. The initiative addresses a critical need within the library field by developing and distributing new tools, resources and support for librarians to engage with their communities in new ways.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

About The Harwood Institute

The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Md., that teaches and coaches people and organizations to solve pressing problems and change how communities work together. The institute is guided by Richard C. Harwood, whose transformational work during the past 25 years has spread to thousands of communities nationally and worldwide, from small towns to large cities.