Resources for Libraries

The tools below are designed to help libraries strengthen their roles as community leaders and bring about positive change in their communities. 

"Turning outward" is a step-by-step process developed by The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. It entails taking steps to better understand communities; changing processes and thinking to make conversations more community-focused; being proactive to community issues; and putting community aspirations first.

Taken together, these resources provide a  90-day plan to help your library "turn outward." 

We hope you find these materials useful, and we welcome your feedback. For more information about how libraries nationwide are using the tools, visit our LTC blog. For complete "turning outward" training materials—including all the tools belowdownload the Public Innovators Lab Workbook.

 

  THE TOOL WHAT IS IT? HOW CAN IT HELP? GET THE TOOL
First 30 Days:
Getting Started

Begin to talk to your library team about their hopes and goals

Put in place the thought processes that will lead to long-term change

Turn Outward A short quiz to help you and your team understand what it means to “turn outward” toward the community
  • Illustrates what the concept of “turning outward” means in practice and lays the groundwork for future action

  • Use individually or with a group, such as in a staff meeting or board retreat
Turn Outward
Aspirations A 60- to 90-minute conversation with an existing or newly formed group (i.e., staff task force, board committee, new community group) designed to help the group decide what they want to work on together
  • Starts the conversation with aspirations, as opposed to problems—keeping the focus grounded in reality with a sense of possibility

  • Composed of three questions that culminate in a brief story summarizing your community’s aspirations and challenges
Aspirations

Aspirations Facilitators Guide

Intentionality Tests A series of self-assessment questions to help you learn to make turned-outward decisions grounded in aspirations and the 3A’s of Public Life: Authority, Authenticity and Accountability
  • Tests offer touchstones for decision-making you can use in your daily work
Intentionality

Engagement Paths

3As of Public Life

Sustaining Yourself

  THE TOOL WHAT IS IT? HOW CAN IT HELP? GET THE TOOL

30-60 Days: Going into the Community

Begin facilitating conversations with your community

Ask Exercise Four simple questions you can ask people one-on-one—patrons, even folks on the street—to begin learning what kind of community people want
  • A starting point for learning about your community’s aspirations

  • Gain confidence in engaging people—even those you don’t know—in conversation

  • Takes just 5 to 10 minutes

  • Can be completed with minimal planning
Ask Exercise
Community Conversations A series of 90- to 120-minute conversations with community members about what they want their community to be; what challenges they face in realizing these aspirations; and what changes are needed to overcome them
  • Help you engage others, find partners and develop strategies that strengthen the library’s relevance and significance in the community

  • Templates in Community Conversation Workbook make it easy to invite, facilitate and follow up
Community Conversation Workbook

Webinar: “Hosting and Leading Community Conversations”

Theming and Using Public Knowledge Workbook

Webinar: “Theming and Using Public Knowledge”

  THE TOOL WHAT IS IT? HOW CAN IT HELP? GET THE TOOL

60-90 Days: Sharing What You Learn

Share knowledge and evaluate team progress

Innovation Space Regularly scheduled meetings (once every four weeks) to bring members of your team together to focus on what you’re learning and identify implications for your work going forward
  • Time set aside for asking “what are we learning?”—not “what are we doing?”

  • Taking time to reflect on what you are learning helps your team maintain a turned-outward mindset
Webinar: “Hosting and Using Innovation Spaces”

Webinar: “Partner Selection and Managing Relationships” (coming 9/24)