For immediate release | November 21, 2012

ALA Midwinter Conversations: Community Engagement and the Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities

CHICAGO - For libraries of all types located in all kinds of communities, innovation in engaging those communities is a compelling and critical strand of conversation right now. 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting offers several important opportunities to participate in and move the conversation forward, to examine the issues, process the implications and consider practical steps and strategies. Four sessions of in-depth, facilitated conversations around community engagement, including sessions with Rich Harwood and Peggy Holman, will offer new tools and ideas ready to implement, with a focus on how to engage the community.

The four sessions are:

The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities: A Presidential Initiative, 8:30 - 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26. This groundbreaking libraries-as-change-agents initiative is the beginning of a new partnership between ALA and the Harwood Institute of Public Innovation. ALA President Maureen Sullivan will moderate a panel of public innovators, including Richard Harwood, founder and president of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, Tim Henkel, president and CEO of Spokane County United Way and Carlton Sears, past director at Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and certified coach with the Harwood Institute. The session will identify aspirations and anticipated results of the Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities Initiative and highlight transformation experiences from similar partnerships. Funded through a grant from IMLS, the multi-phase initiative’s goal is to provide librarians with the tools and training they need to lead their communities in finding innovative solutions by advancing library-led community engagement and innovation. The conversations at Midwinter are one step in building a sustainable, scalable national plan.

Community Engagement Conversation: The Work of Hope 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, is a conversation about advancing library-led community engagement, through which participants will see how they can help kick-start a new trajectory in their community. Harwood, who is also author of the new book "The Work of Hope," will lead this session and share his insights as well as tools that libraries can use to take action and engage with their communities. "The Work of Hope" finds that people believe we must take small local actions in order to rebuild trust and strengthen relationships and ultimately restore belief in ourselves and one another that we can get things done, together. This hands-on session will provide libraries with tools and resources to begin taking those steps for working with people in their community.

Community Engagement Conversation: Appreciative Inquiry—The Library in the Community, 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27, is facilitated in the spirit of appreciative inquiry by author and consultant Peggy Holman, a recognized leader in deploying group processes that directly involve hundreds, or thousands, of people in organizations or communities in achieving breakthroughs. Holman’s latest book, "Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity," won the 2011 Nautilus Gold Book Award for Conscious Business/Leadership.

In Community Engagement Conversation: Change in the Community, Change in ALA, 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 28, Peggy Holman will use the Open Space approach to continue the conversation, looking at change in the community and change in ALA. Open Space is a philosophy, practice and process that enables groups of any size to come together around complex, important issues and accomplish something meaningful.

ALAMidwinter Meeting. The conversation starts here …

Hurry! Register and book housing now, before early bird registration ends December 2.

Stay in touch and get updates at the Midwinter website, by joining the Facebook Event, by tracking the tag--#alamw13, by following our Pinterest page, and/or by using the Midwinter Meeting Scheduler.

For attendees who need support in making their case for attending and why they’ll be more valuable to their institutions afterwards, use these resources.


Amy R McGuigan

Conference Supervisor

Conference Services (CONF)

1-800-545-2433 ext. 3226