For immediate release | October 23, 2012

How public libraries contribute to vital communities

CHICAGO — Public libraries are keystone public institutions for any thriving community and, as such, can be leaders in making cities better places to work, play and live.

In “Public Libraries and Resilient Cities,” published by ALA Editions, noted urban planner and librarian Michael Dudley shows how public libraries can contribute to “placemaking”: the creation and nurturing of vital and unique communities for their residents. From the economic renewal potential of library development projects to the provision of public space in a privatizing world, from services for the homeless to crisis management during urban disasters, this important new book explores the vital role that public libraries can play in the promotion of ecologically, economically and socially sustainable communities in challenging times. Using case studies and other information from the field, the author and his team of contributors:

  • Show how public libraries can address pressing urban and environmental sustainability issues through smart urban design practices, making contributions to economic regeneration and a commitment to social equity;
  • Provide examples of innovation in public library design, management, collaboration and public services;
  • Offer librarians, library administrators and even urban planners the practical knowledge, tools and vocabulary to overcome professional and disciplinary barriers.

Dudley is an urban planning librarian and researcher with the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg, Canada, where he engages in community-based, public interest research and teaches in the university’s environmental studies program. He is the editorial board chair for Plan Canada magazine, the official publication of the Canadian Institute of Planners, and blogs at Planetizen.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5418 or

Related Links

"Public Libraries and Resilient Cities"

Michael Dudley's blog

"Grassroots Library Advocacy"

"Public Libraries and their National Policies"


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ALA Editions

1-800-545-2433 ext. 5418