For immediate release | November 1, 2012

Peter Block on transformation and leadership in ALA President’s Program, Midwinter Meeting

CHICAGO —Peter Block, best-selling author of “Community: The Structure of Belonging” and widely known for his work on community engagement and reconciliation, will facilitate an interactive discussion about the nature of real transformation and what kind of leadership is required to achieve it. ALA President Maureen Sullivan welcomes Block as part of the President’s Program from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27.

Block will define how communal transformation depends on leadership that includes role modeling, holding people accountable and shared ownership, independent of style. His approach focuses on how to create workplaces and communities that work for everyone in them, with a goal of effecting change through consent and connectedness rather than through mandate and force.

Block is a prolific author. His most recent book, “The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods,” was co-authored with John McKnight. In 2008, he published “Community: The Structure of Belonging.” His best known book “Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used” is now in its third edition. He is a partner in Designed Learning, a training company that offers workshops designed to build the skills outlined in his books. With other volunteers in Cincinnati, Block started A Small Group, an organization focused on creating a new community narrative and bringing his work on civic engagement into being. He serves on the boards of directors of Cincinnati Classical Public Radio, Elementz, a Hip Hop center for urban youth, and LivePerson, a provider of online engagement solutions. Find out more about Block and his work at,,, and

In related events, from 8:30 - 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, ALA President Maureen Sullivan will moderate a panel of civic innovators, including Richard Harwood of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, and launch The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities, a groundbreaking libraries-as-change-agents initiative. With funding from IMLS, ALA is partnering with The Harwood Institute on the first phase of this project, the goal of which is to develop a sustainable national plan to transform the role of libraries in their communities by advancing community engagement and innovation.

Three conversation sessions at ALA Midwinter Meeting facilitated by Harwood (Saturday, 1:00-2:30 p.m.) and Peggy Holman (Sunday, 1:00-2:30 p.m., and Monday, 8:30-11:30 a.m.), will also focus on the evolving role of libraries’ engagement with their communities and resulting transformations.

These facilitated discussions are all part of a continuum of conversations and initiatives throughout ALA to advance library-led community engagement, dovetailing with the new Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities initiative.

ALAMidwinter Meeting registration and housing are open. Important conversations about the transformation and future of libraries will be taking place in Seattle, Jan. 25-29

For attendees who need support in making their case for attending and why they’ll be more valuable to their institutions afterwards, ALA offers resources that include step-by-step guidelines for what information to present, what previous attendees have said about what they took home from ALA conferences and events, a sample budget worksheet, and more. Those resources are available on the Midwinter website.

ALA Midwinter Meeting. The conversation starts here …

Related Links

ALA Midwinter Meeting registration and housing

Resources to help in making your case to attend ALA Midwinter Meeting


JoAnne Kempf

Director, Governance Office

Executive Office (EXEC)

1-800-545-2433 ext.3212