Conversation Café

Conversation Cafe

Conversation Cafés are open, hosted conversations in cafés as well as conferences and classrooms — anywhere people gather to make sense of our world.

At a Conversation Café there is nothing to join, no homework, no agenda, just a simple process that helps to shift us from small talk to BIG talk, conversations that matter. It is a 90-minute hosted conversation, held in a public setting like a café, where anyone is welcome to join. A simple format helps people feel at ease and gives everyone who wants it a chance to speak — it’s also fine for people to simply listen.

Use Conversation Café when: You want participants to learn more about themselves, their community or an issue, and/or discover innovative solutions to problems.

Topics suited for this model: Nearly anything! It is particularly suited for exploring topics (e.g. community, love, death), or for processing events or issues, like instances of violence or other crises in a community.

Why we chose this model: This is an open-source, simple method, which allows for it to be adapted to whichever issue or topic is timely or desired. With training, libraries can run this kind of dialogue using minimal resources — which makes it particularly ideal for the smaller and rural libraries.

Visit the Conversation Cafe website

Learning Sessions

WEBINAR: "Libraries Transforming Communities: Conversation Cafe" (recorded May 23, 2018)








First 30 Days: Getting Started
Resources: Conversation Cafe


Quick How-To Guide

A guide for organizing a Conversation CafÈ - with all the key information for hosts.

Helps organize a CafÈ quickly - with the nuts and bolts to invite and facilitate a CafÈ in a short time frame. Also a useful resource for others interested in learning how to organize cafes.



Get the Quick How-To Guide

The Complete Hosting Manual

A manual for how to organize and facilitate Conversation Cafes.

Helps provide a step-by-step guide for hosting Conversation Cafes.

Get the Complete Hosting Manual


Core Principles for Conversation Cafe

An outline of the agreements and commitments hosts and participants make to one another when participating in a Cafe.

Helps explain the principles behind the process and why they are important.

Get the Core Principles for Conversation Cafe

Location, Location

A guide to selection a location for a Cafe.

Helps organizers think through the selection of a location and what is needed to host a Cafe.

Get Location, Location

Additional Resources

A webpage with all Conversation Cafe resources.


Provides all existing resources for Conversation Cafe and additional links for resources on dialogue.

Get Additional Resources


These resources are offered as part of Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Models for Change, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) and National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) that seeks to strengthen libraries' roles as core community leaders and agents of change. LTC: Models for Change is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). 

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Get started with the free e-course, "Libraries Transforming Communities: Facilitation Skills for Small and Rural Libraries."

LTC: Accessible Small and Rural Communities will offer more than $7 million in grants to better serve people with disabilities.

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Learn basic facilitation skills with ALA's free guide, "Leading Conversations in Small and Rural Libraries."