For immediate release | February 21, 2012

ALA Center for Civic Life, present webinar series on how to host public issues forums in the library

CHICAGO – and the ALA Center for Civic Life are pleased to announce a free, four-part series of webinars for libraries, “The Conversation Continues Here: Hosting Public Issues Forums @ your library.” Presented with support from the ALA Cultural Communities Fund, this series is suitable for librarians from public, academic, special and school libraries who are interested in learning more about deliberative forums and how to implement programs in the library that encourage public deliberation on important issues of common concern.

During the series, speakers from organizations, including ALA and the National Issues Forums Institute, will introduce important concepts for successful implementation of public forums in a variety of library settings and encourage participants to explore the potential for deliberative forums in their own organizations. Topics for the series include:

  • Getting Started: An Introduction to Convening Forums @ your library

    Tuesday, Feb. 28, 3 p.m. CST - Registration

    Public deliberation is a process used to engage contentious, difficult issues from diverse perspectives. This session will provide an introduction to deliberative conversations that public, academic and school libraries are convening and how these discussions are repositioning libraries in their communities.
  • Moderating Forums @ your library, Part 1--Nuts and Bolts

    Tuesday, March 27, 3 p.m. CDT – Registration

    This session will cover what is involved in moderating a public deliberative forum in the library--how moderating is different from facilitating; how to promote deliberation; how to stay neutral but help people consider diverse perspectives; how to keep track of time and use an issue framework to help the group deliberate; and how to work with a forum recorder.
  • Moderating Forums @ your library, Part 2—Step-by-Step

    Tuesday, April 24, 3 p.m. CDT – Registration

    This session will continue webinar #2 -- how to moderate and/or record a public deliberative forum at the library; a step-by-step guide to making a deliberative forum work, from introducing the issue and participants and showing the video to deliberating about approaches and finding common ground; and ideas about how to gain practice moderating discussions.
  • Convening Forums @ your library--Nuts and Bolts

    Tuesday, May 22, 3 p.m. CDT – Registration

    This session will cover the logistics and choices involved in planning to hold a forum—building partnerships; choosing the issue topic; setting the date; preparing the room and equipment; publicity; assigning moderators and recorders; participant registration; following up after the forum; and preparing issue-related resources for forum participants.

For more information, visit or This series is part of an ongoing initiative of the ALA Public Programs Office, under the leadership of the ALA Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee to present professional development opportunities for libraries that support civic engagement initiatives. To learn about similar opportunities, visit

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included Let’s Talk About It reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, LIVE! @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information about the ALA Public Programs Office, visit

The ALA Center for Civic Life, launched in 2010 with the Kettering Foundation, promotes community engagement and fosters public deliberation through libraries. The Center is building the capacity of libraries and librarians to help citizens engage in the civic life of their communities. For more information, visit