For immediate release | September 9, 2016

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

CHICAGO — 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.

Through Libraries Transform: Community Engagement Models for Change, ALA will offer a series of web-based and in-person workshops, all free of charge for participants and specially designed for public and academic libraries.

ALA will partner with several change-making leaders — such as the National Coalition on Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD), Everyday Democracy, National Issues Forum and World Café — to develop and lead the trainings. Courses will be customized to meet the needs of various library types and sizes: small, medium-sized and rural public libraries; large public library systems; and academic libraries.

Library professionals serving small and rural communities will be invited to apply for 25 scholarships to defray the cost of travel and lodging for in-person workshops.

Through a partnership with ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries, all participants will receive digital badges in recognition of their participation.

More information, including a training schedule and application instructions for in-person sessions, will be announced in the coming months. To be informed as details become available, sign up for ALA’s Programming Librarian newsletter.

Libraries Transform: Community Engagement Models for Change is based on the idea that libraries have a unique capacity to support healthy, sustainable communities.

“In today’s changing library landscape, it is increasingly clear that skills like facilitation and consensus-building are vital competencies for library professionals,” said ALA President Julie Todaro. “ALA has been a champion of community engagement work for years, and we’re excited that this IMLS support will provide libraries and librarians even more resources to aid them in this important work.”

In 2014 and 2015, ALA completed Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC), a two-year project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that introduced hundreds of libraries to the “Turning Outward” approach, a set of community engagement techniques created by The Harwood Institute for Public Engagement. Libraries Transform: Community Engagement Models for Change will expand upon that work by offering library-focused training and resources about a variety of models so libraries can select those that best suit their needs.

Like the resources developed through LTC, all materials created for Libraries Transform: Community Engagement Models for Change will be available online for all libraries, free of charge.

About the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

About the American Library Association (ALA)

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

About the ALA Public Programs Office

ALA’s Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training and networking opportunities that help thousands of library professionals nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to promote cultural programming as an essential part of library service in all types of libraries. For programming ideas, professional development and grant opportunities, on-demand online courses and other free resources, visit

About the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD)

NCDD is an active U.S.-based network of 2,300 innovators who bring people together across divides to discuss, decide and act together on today's toughest challenges. We serve as a gathering place, a resource center, a news source and a facilitative leader for an active community of practice centered around the practices of dialogue and deliberation. Our online Resource Center at connects people to 3,000 resources on group process and public engagement, and more than 38,000 people are subscribed to our monthly email updates. Our biennial national conferences are well-loved, high-energy events that bring together those who are committed to finding innovative ways to convene people to address seemingly intractable problems. To learn more or get involved, visit


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office