Libraries Transforming Communities: Small, Mid-Sized and/or Rural Public Libraries

Partner Organizations

National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) logo

The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) is a network of more than 2,300 innovators who bring people together across divides to discuss, decide and take action together effectively on today’s toughest issues. NCDD serves as a gathering place, a resource center, a news source and a facilitative leader for this vital community of practice.
Future Search logo
Used by communities and organizations, Future Search is a unique planning method that enables large, diverse groups to validate a common mission, take responsibility for action, and develop commitment to implementation. The meeting is task-focused. It brings together people from all walks of life into the same conversation — those with resources, expertise, formal authority and need. People tell stories about their past, present and desired future. Through dialogue they discover their common ground, and then they make concrete action plans.
The meeting design comes from theories and principles tested in many cultures for the past 50 years. It relies on mutual learning among stakeholders as a catalyst for voluntary action and follow-up. People devise new forms of cooperation that continue for months or years.
Use Future Search when: The method is especially useful in uncertain, fast-changing situations when it is important that everyone have the same large picture in order to act responsibly.
Topics suited for this model: Housing, employment, transportation, education, and more!
Why we chose this model: This is a method for strategic planning, which helps communities develop cooperative plans. Particularly for a smaller-sized community, libraries could serve as a facilitative leader for conversations in the community where plans need to be developed, as they are a key resource and gathering place.
Conversation Cafés are open, hosted conversations in cafés as well as conferences and classrooms — anywhere people gather to make sense of our world. At a Conversation Café there is nothing to join, no homework, no agenda, just a simple process that helps to shift us from small talk to BIG talk, conversations that matter. It is a 90-minute hosted conversation, held in a public setting like a café, where anyone is welcome to join. A simple format helps people feel at ease and gives everyone who wants it a chance to speak — it’s also fine for people to simply listen.
Use Conversation Café when: You want participants to learn more about themselves, their community or an issue, and/or discover innovative solutions to problems. 
Topics suited for this model: Nearly anything! It is particularly suited for exploring topics (e.g. community, love, death), or for processing events or issues, like instances of violence or other crises in a community. 
Why we chose this model: This is an open-source, simple method, which allows for it to be adapted to whichever issue or topic is timely or desired. With training, libraries can run this kind of dialogue using minimal resources — which makes it particularly ideal for the smaller and rural libraries.


Introductory Webinar

"Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change Overview"
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, 1 - 2 p.m. CST
Type: Virtual
Library Types: All

Series 3: For libraries serving small, mid-sized and/or rural communities — Winter/Spring 2018

Webinar 1: February 2018
Webinar 2: March 2018
Webinar 3: April 2018
In-person workshop: June 2018 (2018 ALA Annual Conference)

View the full list of Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change trainings.