Libraries Transforming Communities
The American Library Association’s The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities is a groundbreaking libraries-as-change-agents initiative. ALA has partnered with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation to provide librarians with the tools and training they need to lead community engagement and innovation.
The Harwood Institute has a clearly articulated vision of “turning outward,” supported by a tested practice rooted in community conversation and ownership that emphasizes shifting the institutional and professional orientation of libraries and librarians from internal to external.
The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference
Tools for Community Engagement and Innovation:
The following tools have been customized for library use. Links to tools will download PDF files.
- Turn Outward (PDF): Are you mostly “turned inward or outward”? Librarians may use this tool to assess the focus of their efforts in the community as they further shift their orientation from internal to external.
- Aspirations (PDF): This tool helps librarians to focus on their community’s aspirations, identify next steps for creating change, and to create an aspirations-based story for their community as a starting point for library action.
- Intentionality (PDF): Librarians may use this tool to test the external orientation and mindfulness of their community engagement choices and decisions.
- Sustaining Yourself (PDF): This tool helps librarians to personally map the components that feed their motivation and commitment for community work.
- How Librarians and Libraries Can Lead Community Conversations for Change (PDF): This conversation guide, inspired by The Work of Hope by Richard C. Harwood, provides a step-by-step plan for librarians to convene small group community conversations about shared aspirations and to share their findings with the community.
More on the Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities project:
This project aligns with ALA’s 2015 strategic plan to provide leadership in the transformation of libraries and library services in a dynamic and increasingly global digital information environment. The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities is the first step in building a sustainable, scalable national plan for library-led community engagement. This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Maureen Sullivan and Rich Harwood talking about transforming communities.
Year-long Public Innovation training opportunity
- Three-day Public Innovator’s Lab
- When: October 28-30, 2013
- Where: District of Columbia Public Library Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (901 G Street, NW)
- Monthly calls with a Harwood Institute Certified Coach*
- Six live learning webinars*
Cost: $2,500/first person from a single organization
$1,500/each additional person from that organization
* A library team may participate in the calls and webinars if at least one team member has attended the Public Innovator’s Lab. Cost includes breakfast and beverages during the three-day Public Innovator’s Lab; Cost excludes travel, lodging and meals other than breakfast.
The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities: A Presidential Initiative Update
Saturday, June 29, 2013, 8:30 – 10 a.m., McCormick Place Convention Center, S105a-c
ALA President Maureen Sullivan and Richard Harwood, President and Founder of the Harwood Institute, will lead a panel conversation with librarians about their experiences and the impact of using the Harwood practice in their role as facilitators of community innovation and change. Librarians trained in the Harwood method will share how they have been using the tools, their results to date, and the potential they see going forward. They will also address questions this practice raises for how to effectively engage their communities. The session will provide an update on this multi-phased initiative to provide librarians with the tools and training they need to lead communities in finding innovative solutions by advancing library-led community engagement. This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Alexia Hudson-Ward, Associate Librarian, Penn State University, Abington
Mary Wegner, State Librarian, Iowa Library Services/State Library
Maureen Sullivan, ALA President
Molly Raphael, Immediate Past ALA President
Richard Harwood, President and Founder, The Harwood Institute
Community Engagement Conversation: Advancing library-led community engagement
Saturday, June 29, 2013, 1 – 2:30 p.m., Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Grant Park 12A-D
The conversation about advancing library-led community engagement starts here. See how you and your library can help kick-start a new trajectory in your community. This session will be led by the Harwood Institute’s Carlton Sears and Cheryl Gorman. Carlton is the past director at Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and a Harwood Certified Coach. Cheryl is Harwood Institute’s Vice President of National Programs and a Harwood Mentor Coach. Together they will facilitate small table conversations among participating librarians using the Turn Quiz, one of the many Harwood tools that librarians can use to effectively engage their communities. Participants will also learn how to apply the Turn Quiz in their library and be introduced to additional tools and support materials that have been customized for librarians as part of the Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities initiative, which is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Community Engagement Conversation Guide Webinar (Archived - free)
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 from 1 to 2:30 PM ET/ 10 to 11:30 AM PT
A free follow-up to the conversation session presented at the 2013 ALA Midwinter conference, this webinar will explore how to effectively use the conversation guide How Librarians and Libraries Can Lead Community Conversations for Change. This webinar provides with concrete suggestions for hosting community conversations as well as opportunity to ask questions about how to move from conversation to action as part of the engagement work of libraries. Presenter: Aaron Leavy, Senior Manager, Innovation and Learning at the Harwood Institute.
Recent Libraries Transforming Communities sessions from 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting Sessions:
The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities, A Presidential Initiative:
Saturday, January 26, 8:30 - 10:00am. This groundbreaking libraries-as-change-agents initiative is the beginning of a new partnership between ALA and the Harwood Institute of Public Innovation. ALA President Maureen Sullivan will moderate a panel of public innovators including Richard Harwood, Founder and President of the Harwood Institute, Tim Henkel, President and CEO, of Spokane County United Way and Carlton Sears, past director at Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and Certified Coach with the Harwood Institute. The session will identify aspirations and anticipated results of the Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities Initiative and highlight transformation experiences from similar partnerships. Funded through a grant from IMLS, the multi-phase initiative’s goal is to provide librarians with the tools and training they need to lead their communities in finding innovative solutions by advancing library-led community engagement and innovation. The conversations at Midwinter are one step in building a sustainable, scalable national plan.
Community Engagement Conversation: The Work of Hope
Saturday, January 26, 1:00pm – 2:30pm. Join the conversation about advancing library-led community engagement, and see how you can help kick-start a new trajectory in your community. Rich Harwood, President and Founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and author of the new book The Work of Hope, will lead this session and share his insights as well as tools that libraries can use to take action and engage with their communities. The Work of Hope finds that people believe we must take small local actions in order to rebuild trust and strengthen relationships and ultimately restore belief in ourselves and one another that we can get things done, together. This hands-on session will provide libraries with tools and resources to begin taking those steps for working with people in their community.