LTC Blog

Libraries Transforming Communities

San José Public Library on Using the Aspirations Exercise

San José Public Library is part of the Libraries Transforming Communities Public Innovators Cohort, a group of 10 public libraries chosen to undergo an extensive 18-month training in the “turning outward” approach. In May, a team of five San José librarians and community partners attended a three-day training taught by Harwood Institute educators in Denver. Here, librarian Randall Studstill describes his team’s experience bringing that training home to his entire library. (Access all the resources Studstill mentions with the links below, or visit Resources for Library Professionals.)

'Turning Outward' in Practice: Q&A with Alice Knapp of Ferguson Library

Libraries around the country are already putting the “turning outward” approach to work in their communities. Alice Knapp is director of user services at the Ferguson Library in Stamford, Conn.; in October 2013, she attended a Harwood Institute Public Innovators Lab. Here, Knapp tells ALA about her library’s experience with the “turning outward” approach. (Access all the resources Knapp mentions with the links below, or visit Resources for Library Professionals.)

How were you introduced to the Harwood Institute’s approach?

New Resources Available: "Doing Business with the Media"

The media -- and your relationship with it -- can have a great impact on the success of your community engagement work. It is a tool for bringing new voices into community conversations, sharing findings, and demonstrating the valuable work libraries are undertaking.

But a productive relationship with the media requires more than just dashing off a press release or showing up to an interview. Forethought makes all the difference.

The Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) Public Innovators Cohort participated in a webinar this week with media trainer Anne Gallagher, partner at Chicago's Extreme Marketing, to learn to craft and share messaging about their community engagement work.

Like all LTC resources, the webinar -- "Doing Business with the Media" -- is free and available to the public. Access it here:

Learn to "Turn Outward" at ALA 2014 Annual Conference

The 2014 ALA Annual Conference is fast approaching.

Among the new offerings this year: a series of learning sessions, offered as part of Libraries Transforming Communities, that will introduce participants to the practice of "turning outward" and putting community aspirations first.

In four “Turning Outward to Lead Change in Your Community” sessions, conference-goers will gain practical tools to aid in decision-making, planning and group facilitation, and will discuss how to remain engaged and rejuvenated both on and off the job. Each stand-alone session focuses on a single tool; taken together, they become a powerful framework for engaging community and leading change.

The four part are:

New Resources Available: LTC Cohort Training Materials

The LTC Public Innovators Cohort -- the 10 libraries being intensely trained in the Harwood practice and putting it to work in their communities -- completed a three-day training in Denver last month. All of their training materials are now available for free download.

The LTC Public Innovators Cohort Training Resources contains 79 pages of instructions and worksheets. Topics include:

LTC Public Innovators Cohort: Aspirations

Today marks an important day in the Libraries Transforming Communities initiative: the first gathering of the Libraries Transforming Communities Public Innovators Cohort.

Forty-four participants -- library directors, librarians, outreach specialists, trustees, community volunteers and organizational partners -- convened in downtown Denver on May 20 for a three-day training with ALA and educators from The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. They come from communities as small as Red Hook, N.Y., a village of 1,900 in upstate New York, and as large as Los Angeles. Some have years of experience with library-led community engagement and innovation; others are new to the field. Interestingly, it came out during introductions that many of the participants came to the library profession as a second, or even third, career.

ALA Executive Director on LTC: "A Project for ALA and All Types of Libraries"

ALA Executive Director Kieth FielsIn this month's American Libraries magazine, ALA Executive Director Keith Fiels describes how the association is supporting library-led community engagement and innovation to spark "increased innovation, increased impact, and ultimately, a more successful community—and a more successful library."

Announcing the LTC Public Innovators Cohort

The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the 10 public libraries chosen to undergo an intensive 18-month, team-based community engagement training program as part of the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) Public Innovators Cohort.

The cohort, selected through a highly competitive peer-reviewed application process, is part of ALA’s LTC initiative, a national plan to help librarians strengthen their role as core community leaders and change-agents.

The selected libraries represent the range of American communities in terms of size, location, ethnic and racial diversity and socioeconomic status, and they all face challenges including illiteracy; unemployment; a “digital divide” in their community’s access to information technology; an influx of new and immigrant populations; and disparate access to services.

The following libraries make up the LTC Public Innovators Cohort:

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