For immediate release | December 3, 2013

Community Engagement, from aspirations to TEDx, at ALA Midwinter Meeting

CHICAGO — In keeping with ALA’s ongoing commitment to increased engagement between libraries and the communities they serve, the 2014 American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting offers several related sessions. From innovative uses of TEDx events to spark community conversations to a focus on turning outward and uncovering a community’s aspirations, some key sessions include the following.

“Turning Outward to Lead Change in Your Community: Aspirations” from 1 - 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25. Cheryl Gorman, Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, and Carlton Sears, Harwood Certified coach and past director of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, will facilitate discussion on leveraging your trusted position in the community to engage people on issues that matter. In this interactive session, participants will try out the Aspirations tool and learn how they can use the tool as a starting point for library action. At the end of the session, participants will be able to create a simple story of the community’s shared aspirations and the conditions that will need to change in the community for those aspirations to be achieved; access relevant tools and related resources to plan community conversations; and get connected to a network of other librarians, trustees and friends engaged in community conversations.

Libraries Transforming Communities: An Initiative Update from 8:30 - 10 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 26. Presenters Maureen Sullivan, ALA immediate past president, and Rich Harwood, founder and president of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, will give an update on the ground-breaking initiative announced at the 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting, since when more than 300 library leaders have participated in training and utilized community engagement tools to support their efforts. Sullivan and Harwood will share the latest examples of impact from librarians trained during phase one who are successfully applying the Harwood practice in libraries and within the ALA community. They will also provide details and answer questions about exciting new opportunities for librarians to increase the effectiveness of their library-led community engagement and innovation.

The ALA Kitchen-Table Conversations. Picking up where the “Kitchen Table Conversations” left off at Annual Conference, these informal conversations in groups of 15-20 at ALA Midwinter Meeting will dig more deeply into what the participants want ALA to be as a community. All attendees are invited by ALA President Barbara Stripling to sign up if they would like to participate. (Results from the Annual Conference conversations are in ALA Connect.)

Talk About Innovation: TEDx @Your Library Sharing their success stories and strategies for conducting TEDx events that have energized and empowered community conversations in the library, Chrystie Hill, Meg Omainsky and Teri Skillman will participate in a panel discussion moderated by ALA President Barbara Stripling from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26. The panel will focus on innovative and engaging uses of TEDx in the library for community engagement.

For the full list of community engagement-related sessions and events at Midwinter, you can search under “Civic Engagement” in the Midwinter Scheduler.

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Amy McGuigan

Conference Manager

American Library Association

Conference Services