Libraries Transforming Communities Blog

Libraries Transforming Communities

ALA awarded IMLS grant to offer free community engagement training for libraries

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office has been awarded $243,922 by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program for a two-year professional development project that will train library professionals in community leadership techniques like coalition-building and dialogue facilitation.

Bloomfield-Eastern Greene County Public Library: Coming Home from the Public Innovators Lab for Libraries

Bloomfield-Eastern Greene County Public Library sent two staff members to the ALA/Harwood Institute Public Innovators Lab for Libraries in 2015. Here, Library Director Austin Stroud shares the experience of putting the Turning Outward process to work after returning home.

Suffolk (Va.) Public Library: Turning Outward to Chuckatuck

Suffolk (Va.) Public Library is one of 10 libraries that took part in an intensive 18-month training in the Turning Outward approach as part of ALA's Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) initiative. Here, Assistant Director Sarah Townsend shares how and why her library took on new community engagement strategies and how they're changing the library's culture.

Transforming School Communities: An Interview with Blue Valley High School's Ken Stewart

In 2014, a partnership between the American Library Association (ALA) and The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation resulted in Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC), an ALA initiative that provides resources, training and support for libraries to engage with their communities in new ways using the Harwood Institute's "turning outward" approach.

Getting Started with the Harwood Approach

Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Public Library is one of 10 public libraries that comprise the Libraries Transforming Communities Public Innovators Cohort. Here, Library Associate Larry Boothe (shown below, at right) shares his tips for getting acquainted with the "turning outward" approach.

Columbus (Wis.) Public Library Gets Benched

By Alison Marcotte, Editorial Intern, American Libraries
Almost a year after Columbus (Wis.) Public Library developed its “Root for Columbus” campaign in October 2014, the city is sitting on the bench—art benches, that is.

Want to Know Your Community? Get Outside

Springfield (Mass.) City Library is one of 10 libraries taking part in an intensive 18-month training in the “turning outward” approach. Here, Mason Square Branch Supervisor Ted McCoy talks about the importance of getting outside in your community.


One Year Later: An Interview with Ferguson (Mo.) Library Director Scott Bonner

Aug. 9 marks one year since police in Ferguson, Mo., shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown. With the anniversary looming this Sunday, Ferguson Municipal Public Library Director Scott Bonner is hoping for the best while preparing for the worst. Bonner, who has received awards for providing a safe harbor for residents during the Ferguson protests, spoke to us about how the past year has changed his library.

Learn to Lead Positive Community Change at ALA 2015

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

ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition: San Francisco, June 25-30, 2015

ALA invites member feedback at Kitchen Table Conversations at 2015 Annual Conference

As part of an ongoing effort to improve member experience, the American Library Association (ALA) will host a series of gatherings at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition to receive feedback about how it is communicating with current and prospective members.

Politicking the Delicate Balance between Tradition and Change

Columbus (Wis.) Public Library is one of 10 libraries taking part in an intensive 18-month training in the “turning outward” approach. Here, Library Director Cindy Fesemyer talks about how her library is getting communication flowing between different factions of her changing town.

Springfield City Library: Turning Outward to Fight Violence

Springfield (Massachusetts) City 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. Here, Mason Square Branch Supervisor Jeff Lambert discusses how the training has led to programs to combat violence.


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